Humpback whale population grows from 450 to 25,000 in the South Atlantic Ocean

A recent study reports this substantial increase, which refutes previous analyzes and returns hope for this kind of myceicets. Also for other animals in danger of extinction.

It is true that bad tends to make more noise than good. In recent times, we have heard many news that warn of the situation in which numerous species of animals are found, in danger of extinction. However, there is also good news and, in the same way, they deserve to be told.

Humpback whales are one of these threatened species. For some decades, its capture and killing has been banned in almost every country in the world, due to the large decline in specimens that scientists had observed and for which they warned of their critical status. A circumstance that, however, seems to have changed today. Recent research reports that the population of these humpback whales in the South Atlantic Ocean has increased significantly, to match the records of 50 years ago.

A hopeful study for cetaceans
This is an investigation in which Grant Adams, John Best and André Punt of the Faculty of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Washington have participated and have published in the Royal Society Science magazine.

In it, they include detailed records of the whaling industry at the beginning of its commercial exploitation, accounting for about 27,000 Megaptera novaeangliae – scientific name – that lived in the South Atlantic Ocean. To collect the current data, they have used aerial and ship surveys and advanced modeling techniques.

According to their estimates, now there is again an amount of about 25,000 yubartas, a large increase compared to the 450 that they considered were in the 50s.

An amazing discovery for everyone
Undoubtedly, his conclusions have amazed everyone. Even they, their authors, have expressed their strong impression. “We were surprised to learn that the population of humpback whales is recovering faster than previous studies indicated,” said John Best in a statement on the subject at the University of Washingtton. It refers to an analysis conducted by the International Whaling Commission between 2006 and 2015, which indicated a recovery of around 30%.

It is also striking because the other species of myceicets that are also threatened have not recovered so quickly. At least, let it be known. For example, they estimate that the blue whale maintains the figure of 5,000 copies that it had 60 years ago.

Knowing the yubartas
Humpback whales, also known as yubartas, owe this nickname to the French translation of “hump”, because when they dive deep into the water, they arch their backs, making a slight hump.

Males have somewhat smaller dimensions than females, reaching about 18 meters long on average. Its weight ranges between 225 and 40 tons. As an anecdote, the young weigh 1,000 kilos at birth and are between 4 and 5 meters in size.

The look of beard on their head has a very simple explanation. They are crustaceans that lodge in your body. Precisely, they feed on crustaceans (krill) and do not usually attack large prey.

The current population of humpback whales worldwide can be around 60,000, spread over the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, mainly.

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They have an animated character
Scientists and naturalists also know them for their charisma and joy. Unlike other species of whales, humpbacks stand out for their numerous jumps and acrobatics, in which they rise several meters above the surface. The reasons why they are not clear. Experts are divided between being dewormed, which is the most accepted argument, and between doing so to exhibit.

They are also the type of whale that sings the most. Songs of several minutes have been recorded and the reason for it is not known. Although it can be heard 20 kilometers away.

Do you want to know more?
If this is your case, you can expand your curiosity in a documentary broadcast on Movistar + that focuses on these animals.

The plot of the documentary, 50 minutes long, takes us to the high seas. Two friends were sailing in a kayak when, suddenly, an immense whale dumps their boat and plunges them under the surface of the water. A good scare, no doubt. One of these two friends was Tom Mustill, a wildlife filmmaker, and took advantage of the event to investigate and learn more about this species of whales.

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