50 years after killing, 58 blue whales have returned to the South Atlantic

Research based on the analysis of observations, photographs and underwater sound recordings over the past 30 years,

showed that the population of blue whales off the islandsSouth Georgia is gradually being restored. This became possible after the introduction of a ban on commercial whaling in the region in the 1960s. The research results are published by the journal Endangered Species Research.

The blue whale population lived off the coast of SouthGeorge before industrial whaling killed 42,698 individuals between 1904 and 1971. Most of them were killed before the mid-1930s.

This species has practically disappeared from the region.

And yet, in 2020, more than 58 blue whales have been sighted.

Study lead author Suzanne Calderan ofThe Scottish Association of Marine Sciences (SAMS) stated: “The long absence of blue whales from South Georgia is a landmark example of that population being locally exploited beyond the level from which it could recover. We have been working at South Georgia for the past few years and 2020 will be remembered for the most blue whale sightings we could ever hope for. "

Whales were detected both visually and using acoustic methods.

We still don't fully understand why it took the blue whales so long to return.

Suzanne Calderan, study lead author

Opportunities for Special Research Whales inThis region, known for its harsh weather and inaccessibility, are limited, but they are critical to the future management of the resources of the South Georgia seas, scientists conclude.

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