The portentous comeback of humpback whales
Climate change and other threats might outpace their recovery. The humpback whale population has shown remarkable growth since the days of industrial whaling, with numbers ballooning from c.3,400 in 2002 to c.25,000. However, despite large-scale whaling being long behind us, they now face multiple new anthropogenic threats from climate change, traffic, plastic pollution, fishing, and oil and gas development. Veronika Meduna examines how these resilient creatures have adapted to a new, more hostile world, theorising that their flexibility could help buffer them against ocean fluctuations by veering off their traditional migratory routes and carrying a message of change around Antarctica.