• Dave Harmon, PW editor

UK | Thanks to years of protection, blue whales make "astonishing" recovery in sub-Antarctic

Scientists have documented an “astonishing” number of blue whales off the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia — a region where they had been almost wiped out by commercial whaling in the early 20th century, the BBC reported. The international team of researchers counted 55 blue whales during a 25-day survey period. In contrast, a 2018 survey sighted just one blue whale.

“To think that in a period of 40 or 50 years, I only had records for two sightings of blue whales around South Georgia,” Trevor Branch, a cetacean specialist at the University of Washington who was on the survey team, told the BBC. “Since 2007, there have been maybe a couple more isolated sightings. So to go from basically nothing to 55 in one year is astonishing.”

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