Humpback Whales Saved (Mostly)

Most humpback whales may no longer be endangered.

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Environmentalists and sea lovers have a reason to jump for joy!  Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made a proposal to remove about two thirds of Earth’s humpback whale groups from the list of endangered species.

The humpback whale was first classified as in need of protection in 1970 in the Endangered Species Act.  The proposal by the NOAA, if successful, will remove ten of the fourteen recognized populations of whales from the endangered species list;  for the remainder, two will remain listed as endangered and two will be re-listed as threatened.

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“The return of the iconic humpback whale is an ESA success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries.  “As we learn more about the species—and realize the populations are largely independent of each other—managing them separately allows us to focus protection on the animals that need it the most.”

It’s been eleven years since the NOAA took a species off the endangered list, when a population of gray whales recovered.  Even though these populations of humpback whales are to be removed from the list, they will still be protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.

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