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Blue Whales Return to California at Levels Not Seen Since Before the Whaling Industry

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Don’t call it a comeback, blue whales have been here for years, rocking their peers and putting sailors in fear.

The largest animals on Earth are returning to the coastal Californian waters in larger and larger numbers, with sightings on whale-watching trips becoming increasingly common.

According to a 2014 study investigating the impact of ship strikes on the blue whale population, the western Pacific population of these cetaceans has reached 97% of its pre-whaling levels.

“It’s not just one entity that is contributing to the success of the populations rebounding; it’s really the efforts of everyone,” Jennie Dean, Vice President of Education and Conservation at the Aquarium of the Pacific in LA, told KTLA.

“When we’re able to take collective action and think about balance, such that people and the activities that we want to support like shipping, like recreational use, like commercial fishing, all of those things can coexist.”

Commercial fishing tackle can harm whales, and so the industry took measures to reduce this and it worked.

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Scientists Had Never Seen This Elusive Whale Alive—Until Now

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It’s a common refrain to say we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the deepest parts of our oceans, well a recent paper has shown that maxim extends to the creatures that live there in an embarrassing way.

Humanity has a half-dozen on Mars, but it took until 2022 for Sato’s beaked whale to observed alive for the first time.

Beaked whales, the authors write, are the least-studied of their kind, owing to their low surface profile, long dives, lack of visible blow, general elusiveness, and preference of oceanic shelf or deep ocean habitat.

Sato’s beaked whale has remained elusive for perhaps centuries. The Japanese whaling industry hunts its cousin, Baird’s beaked whale, and the whalers have long been aware that there was a species abound in the same waters that was smaller and darker-skinned. For years it was called “Raven” in the Japanese language.

In 2019, Japanese researches confirmed scientifically its existence using DNA analysis from a deceased individual, but it was two years later when Russian scientists studying killer whales in the choppy waters between their nation and the island of Hokkaido that they found a pod of 14 of the elusive animals.

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