Bowhead whales still harmed from whaling that ended a century ago

Bowheads feel the impacts of commercial whaling 100 years later

Doc White/Nature Picture Library/Alamy

Commercial whaling of bowheads ended about a century ago, but the industry’s footprint could threaten the species’ future.

Before people sought their blubber for oil and their baleen for tools and clothes, bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) flourished. This was despite drastic ancient climate change, including a warm period between around 8500 and 10,000 years ago. But whaling reduced global bowhead numbers to as low as 3000 individuals by the early 20th century. The US, Canada and Norway have since…

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