Critically Endangered Blue Whales Make “Unprecedented” Comeback Off Antarctica Coast

In the past decades, animal protection agencies have spent a great deal of effort considering how to revive the blue whale population, as the species was quickly dwindling in numbers.

Today, the blue whales have made a miraculous comeback. In 2018, there was just one single sighting, and thus far in this year online that number has increased to 55 sightings.

When the International Whaling Commission outlawed whaling in 1986, the blue whale population had already been reduced by 97%, so today’s comeback is regarded as somewhat miraculous.

The research team with the British Antarctic Survey says, ““For such a rare species, this is an unprecedented number of sightings and suggests that South Georgia waters remain an important summer feeding ground for this rare and poorly known species.

“After three years of surveys, we are thrilled to see so many whales visiting South Georgia to feed again. This is a place where both whaling and sealing were carried out extensively.

It is clear that protection from whaling has worked, with humpback whales now seen at densities similar to those a century earlier, when whaling first began at South Georgia.”. There have been 36 sightings of the whale in just the South Georgia area.

Researchers also believe that the bounceback of the blue whale population also has important environmental impacts. Economist Dr. Ralph Chiami has estimated that each whale is worth nearly $2 million in their ability to offset carbon emissions.

This is due “to the tremendous amount of feces the whales produce, which in turn feeds iron to the phytoplankton population, allowing the marine algae to proliferate and capture carbon while providing oxygen to the planet”.

For both the environment and ecological systems as a whole, the bounceback of the blue whale is a miracle.