BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Coast Experiencing Rise In Humpback Whale Population

11/25/2015 11:36 EST | Updated 11/25/2015 11:59 EST
Jeremy Koreski via Getty Images
The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whale suborder. It is a large whale: an adult usually ranges between 12 and 16 m (40 and 50 ft) long and weighs approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 pounds), or 36 tonnes (40 tons). It is well known for its breaching (leaping out of the water

Humpback whales are on the rebound.

Whale-watchers and researchers have noted a recent increase in sightings of the large mammals off Vancouver Island, according to CBC News.

"These animals are making a great recovery," said John Ford of the Department of Fisheries.

Many male humpback whales have also been heard serenading females, according to Times Colonist, something that usually only happens in Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean, where they breed.

“They are repopulating areas they once frequented, before commercial whaling wiped them out,” Michael Harris of the Pacific Whale Watch Association told the Times.

humpback whale

A humpback whale seen off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo: Getty)

The humpback population has been on the rise for years. In 1965, there were only 1,500 whales in the North Pacific. According to the International Whaling Commission, there were an estimated 22,000 members of the species in the same area in 2007.

But Ford says there are still notable threats to their population in B.C., including collisions with large ships, pollution and excessive noise.

Sightings of the whales come as welcome news. Four humpbacks were found dead off the B.C. coast within one week this summer.

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