Subject: Re: Blue Whale Populations

Rui Prieto (rprieto@dop.uac.pt)
Fri, 18 Sep 1998 13:02:38 -0000

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Hello,

Sorry about the delay answering your question, but we had a problem in the
computer caused by a thunder storm and went off-line.

Now, about your question:


After such an absolute obliteration of the species during the
>"whaling years", I am curious what the current numbers are for the
population
>of Blue's in the Antarctic and northern ocean regions for this species and
>what their chances are for survival into the next century.  Any info is
>appreciated.


Calculating whale populations is a triky business, which have been a big
issue for many years. But we are getting better at that, and the estimatives
that we have today are probably close to the truth.

It's always difficult to say if a given species, which was brought to the
brink of extintion will make a come back or not. Even if the population size
is enough to bring the species back from the danger zone, if something goes
wrong in the process the population may crash (like having a high mortality
rate due to some disease, or a change in the disponibility of food). On the
other hand, some animals seem to respond better than we would expect and
make outstanding comebacks, when we would imagine that this would be almost
impossible. The truth is that we still now little about how population
dinamics works, and it's hard to predict the future of any given species.
But I would say that, if let alone, the blue whales stand a fair chance of
coming back to more stable numbers.

The sites I list below, will giveyou some further information about the
population estimates for this and other species, as well as about the
species biologies. And from there you can dig deeper...

http://kingfish.ssp.nmfs.gov/tmcintyr/cetacean/blue.html
http://www.seaworld.org/animal%5Fbytes/bluewhaleab.html
http://www.seaworld.org/baleen_whales/estimatesbw.html

Cheers,

Rui

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