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Blue whales are returning to the South Atlantic

Blue whales are returning to the South Atlantic

Whale numbers are rebounding in the South Atlantic ocean, in some cases dramatically, a new research team has been happy to report.

Marine scientists with the British Antarctic Survey, who have been tracking whale movements in waters surrounding South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic Ocean say that these massive mammals appear to be thriving since a near worldwide ban of whaling was enacted.

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The critically endangered blue whale, the largest animal ever to have lived, received special mention as the team noted they had spotted a total of 55 individuals in the past year.

While 55 Blue whales may seem like an unexciting number to most, whale specialist Dr Trevor Branch has been jumping for joy telling the BBC that before this study he had only seen two blue whales in the region, “in the past 40 or 50 years”.

Meanwhile, populations of Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales are said to be very close to a full recovery to pre-whaling numbers around the island. Hunting in the region devastated whale populations with the animals all brought to near extinction so researchers are thrilled with the latest announcements.

“What is clear is that protection from whaling has worked with densities of humpbacks in particular similar to those of a century ago and we are thrilled to see them at South Georgia again,” said Dr Jen Jackson from the British Antarctic Survey.

“Continued protection and monitoring is required to see if this unprecedented number of blue whales sightings is a long-term trend, as we see in humpbacks.”


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