[caption id="attachment_83041" align="aligncenter" width="1034"] Canadian List Downgrades Extinction Risk for Humpback Whales[/caption]There is good news on the environmental front regarding humpback whales and their position on the list published in Canada regarding animal species at risk of extinction. The humpback population has grown to such an extent in Pacific Northwest ocean waters that Fisheries and Oceans officials have downgraded the extinction risk of humpback whales from being a threatened species to simply meriting special concern. This downgrade of the whale population's status is expected to remove at least one problem that has been delaying new oil pipeline construction in British Columbia, since it would be easier to allow more oil tankers to travel along the West Coast shoreline.
According to an official at Canada's Fisheries and Oceans office, by the midpoint of the 20th century, whalers had almost brought the humpback population to the verge of extinction. Even the popular "Star Trek" movie franchise focused its fourth film offering on a story that included bringing humpback whales back from the future in order to bring them back from extinction. Although some individuals have raised concerns that the main purpose in downgrading the level of extinction threat currently experienced by humpbacks is solely to encourage more oil pipeline production and traffic, Canadian officials insist that their primary motivation in downgrading the threat level to the massive creatures has been a repopulation effort that has proven to be amazing.
Humpbacks are a variety of whale which are among the largest mammals on the planet, gentle giants living and breeding in offshore Canadian Pacific Ocean waters. They can grow as long as 16 meters and weigh as much as 40 tons. Harvesting these creatures for their abundant supply of blubber for commercial purposes was officially halted in 1966. At that time, approximately 1,400 humpbacks remained, now estimated to be 20,000 strong.