Although as of 2014 humpback whales are no longer listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, major threats to their populations include fishing gear entanglement, collisions by ships, impacts on their habitats from pollution and harassment by whale watchers. Future threats include proposed resumption of commercial whale hunting and offshore development of oil and gas mining facilities.Know More
Extensive commercial hunting of humpback whales, which began in the 18th century and carried on into the 20th century, severely depleted global humpback whale populations, especially after the introduction of the explosive harpoon in the late 19th century. In the 20th century alone, whalers killed over 200,000 humpbacks, until the population dropped to approximately 700 whales. The International Whaling Commission was founded in 1946 to protect worldwide whale populations, and in 1966 it banned the hunting of humpback whales. In 1986, humpback whales were declared Endangered by the IUCN. In 1990, their status was changed to Vulnerable. Because of their resiliency in re-establishing themselves with a worldwide population of at least 80,000, the IUCN reclassified humpback whales in the category of Least Concern as of 2008.
As of 2014, commercial hunting of humpback whales is still banned, except by small native groups in areas such as Greenland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Humpback whale deaths through entanglement in fishing gear are reported annually by U.S. and Japanese fishermen. Ship strikes, though less frequent, occur. Conservationists are concerned about offshore oil and gas development affecting whale populations in places such as Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar and Gabon.Learn more about Marine Mammals
Some of the conservation efforts to save humpback whales include the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, the Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Plan, the Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks project and the More North Atlantic Humpbacks project. In addition, safe boating practice education and humpback whale research and monitoring aid the effort to protect humpbacks.Full Answer >
As of 2014, koalas are not listed as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. However, koalas are suffering lower populations from loss of habitat and predators. Past hunting of koalas for food and the fur trade also led to smaller populations of koalas.Full Answer >
Killer whales are endangered due to a number of threats, including oil spills, bio-accumulation of PCB and other contaminants, noise pollution, collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, shootings by fishermen, and habitat disturbance by whale watchers. Additionally, the depletion of populations of prey, such as marine mammals and certain species of fish, affects its ecosystem.Full Answer >
Several factors threaten beluga whales, including a changing climate, noise from ocean vessels, commercial fishing practices, pollution and habitat destruction, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Like many threatened and endangered marine mammals, beluga whales face threats primarily from humans. The increasing encroachment of humans into whale territories also poses a threat to belugas, as the whales become injured, disoriented and killed through human recreational activities like boating and fishing, and from oil and gas production.Full Answer >