Whales are returning to the poles for the first time in 40 years

Source Credit: National Geographic

Whales are returning to the poles
Photo Credit: Getty Image


After being on the brink of extinction due to indiscriminate hunting, for the first time in 40 years, whales were sighted returning to the poles.

A hostile history of mass killings haunts polar whales. After long years of absence, his return to the poles was sighted for the first time in four decades. 

Only in Antarctica, during 70 years 1,300,000 whales were killed. In addition to the industrial harvest, the population of this species declined until bringing them close to extinction.


Today, after the commercial hunting of these marine giants has ended, for the first time, they return to their habitat in the Southern Ocean. This return seems to indicate that after years of exploitation and human abuse, blue whales are finally on the mend.


Restoration of marine life

Whales are returning to the poles 1
Photo Credit: Getty Image


A recent study revealed that there are 41 new specimens of blue whales in the vicinity of the subantarctic island of South Georgia. In the last nine years, it is the largest number of individuals ever cataloged. Since the island saw about 3,000 individuals die, victims of hunting, this represents very good news for the population of the area.


The krill that these whales feed on abounds in the waters around South Georgia. The scientists who conducted the study think that the recovery of this plankton could be one of the causes that led to the return of the blue giants. 

With food supplies functioning normally, the chance that they can reproduce and return to normal in the coming years is greater.


The same phenomenon has been seen in the case of humpback whales, west of the Antarctic Peninsula: the population density closely resembles the numbers that existed before hunting was an industrial practice. With this market gone, the northern seas are the ideal setting for whales to re-establish themselves.


Although indigenous communities in the area continue to hunt for their own consumption, this does not pose a real risk to the total whale population. The problem led to commercial slaughter which, in 1984, was finally banned.

Global warming and noise pollution, latent threats to whales

Whales are returning to the poles 2
Photo Credit: Getty Image


Global warming remains the single most significant threat facing polar whale populations. The increase in water temperatures brings significant amounts of stress to them, as their food sources are severely depleted.


In the same way, the noise pollution suffered by these animals seriously impacts their well-being. Large boats produce loud noises that can travel long distances underwater, interfering with the sound that whales need to navigate their dark underwater habitats.


This is so because whales need to communicate with each other to obtain food. It is a case similar to when we try to talk to someone next to a very noisy construction: the sound does not pass, or it is very difficult to understand what the other is trying to say.


Besides being very annoying, it can be deadly. It turns out that this type of contamination has caused mothers to separate from their young because they cannot communicate with them. One possible solution is to rethink the shipping routes, so as not to interfere with local marine life.

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