OLYMPIA, Wash., Sept. 7 (UPI) -- According to a new study by the University of Washington, U.S. Blue Whales are at a population of about 97 percent of where they used to be before becoming endangered. The original population is not believed to have been very large, and it now resides around 2,200 whales. The news release states that "approximately 3,400 California blue whales were caught between 1905 and 1971."
"The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures," said Cole Monnahan, a UW doctoral student in quantitative ecology and resource management.
According to U.S. law, only 3.1 blue whales a year is considered an acceptable number of whales struck by ships, but the release claims at least 11 a year are struck on the West Coast. That being said, the researchers do not think that higher number is enough to cause a serious risk to the now flourishing whale population. Considering the whales can weigh almost 200 tons, they could do serious damage to boats that strike them, but they can also be killed by such encounters.