Numbers of California blue whales rebound

blue whale

Blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, were hunted nearly to extinction. Now the population that feeds off the coast of California appears to have rebounded to close to prewhaling numbers.

D Ramey Logan/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The number of blue whales feeding off the coast of California is on the rise. A new count shows that there are about 2,200 individuals in the area, which represents roughly 97 percent of the prewhaling population. The results, published September 5 in Marine Mammal Science, are good news for this population of blue whales. But questions remain about whether other populations, such as the one hunted off the coast of Japan in the early 1900s, have been killed off forever or could rebound as well.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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