In Australia, the Humpback Whale has been removed from the list of threatened species, a triumphant win after 60 years of conservation efforts.
In an article by The Guardian, Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley says, “our removal of the humpback from the threatened species list is based on science and sends a clear signal about what can be achieved through coordinated action. It is a message of hope for the welfare of a number of species.”
Current population numbers stand at around 40,000, a dramatic improvement from 1,500 at the peak of commercial whaling activity. New Zealander and Australian whalers killed over 30,000 humpback whales before the practice was shut down in 1963. Despite this, some conservationists warn that global heating and rising plastic pollution remain a threat to the long-term population of the species. Nonetheless, the current trajectory of the species’ population allows for optimism. Ley tells ABC News Australia that conservation teams had “looked at issues of climate change and they looked at issues of krill fisheries as well as all of the other circumstances of the population trends for the species… So it’s really encouraging to see a strong conservation story lead to a species actually coming off that list.”