Humpback whale in Australia Thousands of humpback whales migrate up and down Australia every year. - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

‘Message Of Hope’ As Humpback Whales Shake Off Endangered Status In Australia

The fall of the Australian whaling industry has had a significant effect on humpback populations

By

2 Minutes Read

Humpback whales have been removed from Australia’s threatened species list after spending years on the brink of extinction. In a media release, the country’s government named it “one of the most majestic animal recovery stories ever recorded,” and assured that despite the status change, protections of the species will remain intact.

The decision was made following a public consultation and “detailed assessment” by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Minister for the Environment.

“This is not about removing safeguards for humpbacks, which are still a protected migratory species, but it is a recognition of the success of the outstanding conservation efforts that are in place,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said in a statement.

She continued: “At the height of the global whaling industry there were as few as 1,500 humpback whales in Australian waters, today that population is believed to be as many as 40,000 individuals and growing.”

Humpback whales generally live for around 50 years in the wild, growing up to 18 meters in length. In Australia, the animals migrate along the east and west coasts every year, typically from May to November, journeying for up to 10,000 kilometers.

Whaling in Australia

The country’s humpback whale population has been hit hardest by the whaling industry (although the accelerating climate crisis is also expected to take its toll on the species in the coming years).

According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment, whaling and the export of whale products was the country’s first primary industry following European colonization.

By 1963, when the International Whaling Commission banned humpback whaling in the Southern Hemisphere, the humpback population was estimated to sit at just 3.5-5 percent of pre-whaling numbers.

Speaking on the species’ newly updated status, minister Ley stresses that this is evidence of “what can be achieved through coordinated action.”

“It is a message of hope for the welfare of a number of species,” she stated.

Ley notes that the government is exploring a long-term monitoring program for humpback whales to see that their population numbers remain stable.

Millions around the world trust Plant Based News for content about navigating our changing planet & our role in it.

Our independent team of journalists and experts are committed to making an impact through a wide range of content—and you can help by supporting our work today.

heading/author

The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the Head of Editorial of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studies psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

More by Jemima Webber iconography/arrow-right

heading/comments

Leave a Comment

Plant Based News Comment Policy

In short:- If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems. Please read our Comment policy before commenting.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
buttons/scroll-to-top/scroll-to-top-small-active