Advertisement

Most humpback whale species removed from endangered list

A study in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters published Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, found that noise from shipping in North Atlantic coastal waters is impacting the feeding behavior of humpback whales. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

HONOLULU – United States officials took most humpback whales off the endangered species list Tuesday, saying their numbers have recovered through international efforts to protect the giant mammals.

The move applies to nine of the 14 distinct populations of humpback whales. Their numbers have steadily grown since a global ban on commercial whaling started nearly 50 years ago, the National Marine Fisheries Service said. The moratorium remains in effect.

However, four distinct populations remain endangered and one is now listed as threatened, some of which inhabit U.S. waters.

READ MORE: Giant Panda is no longer an endangered species

The Central America population, which feeds off the West Coast, and the Western North Pacific population, which inhabits the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, are still endangered. The Mexico population, which feeds off the West Coast and Alaska, is threatened.

Story continues below advertisement

“Today’s news is a true ecological success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Whales, including the humpback, serve an important role in our marine environment.”

The Fisheries Service proposed removing most of the world’s humpback whales from the endangered species list last year, but all the mammals are still protected in U.S. waters.

READ MORE: Caught on camera: Peruvian fishermen rescue whale shark stranded on beach 

Click to play video: 'Whale shark rescued on Peruvian beach' Whale shark rescued on Peruvian beach
Whale shark rescued on Peruvian beach – Aug 26, 2016

Sponsored content