The majestic and graceful humpback whale is a sight to see in the wild, but unfortunately, these creatures were not only admired by those who have the pleasure of seeing them but desired so much that they became a target for whalers.
Between the 19th and mid-20th centuries, the population of humpback whales suffered due to commercial whaling, and at one point, there were only 700 humpback whales left in the North Atlantic. Fortunately, humans started to come to their senses and began banning whaling in the 1980s. The push for animal conservation has allowed humpback whale populations to recover in the past few decades, and finally, humpback whales have regenerated enough to be taken off the endangered species list in Australia.
This decision to delist this species, taken by Environment Minister Sussan Ley, was based on the positive findings of research carried out by the Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee. Since most of her decisions in terms of the endangered species list have to do with placing a species on it, she said that it was nice to finally be removing one instead. “It’s really encouraging to see a strong conservation story lead to a species actually coming off that list,” she said.
Future conservation efforts?
Humpback whales have largely had their protections removed in the world’s waters due to their rising numbers, although, this is a victory that still has to be fought for to maintain. Responsible and coordinated conservation efforts still need to be made to maintain their positive population numbers. Despite having been removed from the endangered species list, humpback whales are still protected by law in Australian waters under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Still, conservationists stress that humpback whales still face environmental and manmade threats, so saving and protecting them and other whale species should remain a priority.