5-speed listening (Level 3)

Number of blue whales increasing



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This is a good-news story about sea life. Scientists have reported that the numbers of blue whales in the eastern Pacific Ocean are the highest they have been in over a century. Researchers at the University of Washington report that there are now over 2,200 blue whales between Mexico and Alaska. Hunters killed nearly all the blue whales in that area and were close to extinction. Whaling became illegal in 1971 and the numbers of the world's largest mammal started increasing. It has taken over 40 years for the blue whale to recover. Lead researcher Dr Cole Monnahan was very happy at this positive news. He said: "For us, this is a great conservation success story."

Dr Monnahan said the number of 2,200 blue whales in the area might not rise any further. He said: "Before this study, some people thought that number should be going up, but if there were about 2,200 whales to begin with, then that is what the environment can support." Monnahan warned that the creature still needs to be protected, saying: "California blue whales are recovering because we took actions to stop catches and start monitoring. If we hadn't, the population might have been pushed to near extinction." He added that: "The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures."

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