Decline of the southern right whale – In the News

New research tracking the rapid decline and slow recovery of New Zealand’s southern right whale population has been widely covered in the media.

The study, published this week in the journal Open Science, combined records from historic whaling logbooks and new genetic data to estimate changes in the the whale population over the last two centuries.

Before the arrival of whalers in the mid-1800’s there were around 30,000 whales in New Zealand waters, but by 1925 there were only approximately 110 left due to whaling, according to the authors. The researchers say that the whales have now recovered to around 12 percent of the original population.

The research has received media attention both in New Zealand and overseas. Examples of coverage include:

RNZ: Southern right whales back from brink of extinction NZ southern right whale population crashed from around to 30,000 to just 110
Newshub: Southern right whales lucky to exist
NZ City News: NZ whale population struggling to recover –
The Guardian: Southern right whale recovery in doubt after being on brink of extinction
ABC News: Southern right whale study quantifies impact of whaling in New Zealand’s waters
Phys.Org: Slow path to recovery for southern right whales
Earth Times: A new population model for right whale numbers in New Zealand