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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The hump survives - humpback whales are safe from extinction...

The hump survives - humpback whales are safe from extinction...

Forty years ago it was feared by conservationists that humpback whales would become extinct within a few years, but hunting bans have saved them and others from extinction. Now that numbers have returned to such a degree they have been taken off the danger list.

The latest count stands at about 40,000 mature individuals and secures the humpback's future, for now at least.

Several other species of whale such as the blue whale, the world's biggest animal, and the set and southern right are also growing in numbers after similar scares, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world's largest conservation network reported.

However, the populations of some smaller species of whales and other cetaceans are still falling and there are fears that some may be close to extinction, the Union said.

The vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, is reportedly down to a mere 150 individuals and is the cetacean most likely to become extinct.

But the resurgence of the humpback has heartened conservationists. Whalers, particularly the Soviet Union's Antarctic whaling fleet had caused such devastation to the population and forced a halt to hunting in the 1960's.

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