But only population of blue whales to have done so…
While conservationists everywhere are trying to ban all whaling, and rogue countries like Japan are trying to find loopholes to keep killing the gentle giants, there are some success stories that deserve attention. A recent study found that California blue whales are doing well; their population is now back to about 2,200 individuals, or 97% of what it was estimated to be before whaling began.
“Whaling nations concentrated their hunting efforts on the colder waters of the Antarctic and until the practice was banned in 1966 some 346,000 of the animals were killed by harpoon. The numbers of blue whales caught in the Pacific was much lower, approximately 3,400 between 1905 and 1971. Much of this hunting was carried out by Russian fleets,” writes the BBC.
But the blue whales of the Pacific Coast of North-America aren’t entirely safe yet. Ship strikes are common — so much so that some merchant ships are being paid to slow down, which also cuts pollution.
Sadly, other whale populations aren’t as robust. In Antarctica, blue whales are numbered at only approximately 1% of their historic, pre-whaling numbers… This means that a lot of work remains to be done to fix our past mistakes.