Once thought to exist in numbers between 9000 and 21000, but whaling pushed them close to extinction – with estimates of just a couple of hundred. In the intervening years, since 1986, the population has reached 350 – potentially doubling the population in just 37 years. However, we need to remember that only around 70 of these are breeding age females. A healthy population can expect breeding females to produce a calf every 3 years or so. Unfortunately, given the entanglements and other things that are stressing these whales, the gap between young is currently in the range 6-10 years. This means we can expect 7-11 calves a year – which suggests that for the population to double again in 37 year – we need a survival rate of over 90%
Should the population continue to grow on at that speed, it will take around 180 years for this population to recover.
Places to try to see them include