July 26, 2003

Good News for the Whales

An article published in Scientific American, "Genetic Analysis Revises Tally of Past Whale Populations" reports new findings that sets the vile practice of hunting whales back many decades.

A high historic whale population could have an impact on how scientists presently view the status of whales as an endangered species. The current humpback whale population of around 10,000 is roughly 50 percent of the pre-industrial whaling numbers determined from logbook records. Using the genetic analysis, however, the current population is only 4 percent of what it once was. Palumbi says that with the revised historical estimates, it could be "on the order of 50 to 100 years" before whales can again be hunted.

Let's hope that in much less than 50 to 100 years, the world will have evolved enough to make this "need" part of it's shameful past. But while we're waiting, we could use a lot more inforcement as well.

Posted by Vanderleun at July 26, 2003 12:29 PM
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Here's an unpleasant thought... let's assume we could put the population of whales back to its previous level. Would the oceans still support them? Something the S.A. article deals with indirectly, but it's a good and sobering question.

Posted by: Joe Katzman at July 26, 2003 12:52 PM