California blue whale hunting (or whaling) was a common practice until 1966 when it was banned by the International Whaling Commission. So, what happened to the blue whale species since that time?

A new report published in the Marine Mammal Science journal says that California, of all the states in the US where whales reside, has seen the return of pre-whaling levels to the blue underwater creature. The new report says that California has the largest blue whale population on earth (2,200), and that this amount constitutes 97% of the original blue whale population in California waters.

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To determine these numbers, researchers used the number of blue whales caught in California’s North Pacific from 1905 to 1971 and compared it to the current number of blue whales in the North Pacific since the Commission banned whaling (hunting for whales for meat and oil).

While the report shows the positive growth of California blue whales and their peaceful habitat that is no longer disturbed by hunters and the constant need for survival, blue whales do suffer accidental deaths due to massive ships that hit them when in water. Researchers believe that the number of California blue whales is positive, and a sign that leaving the species undisturbed is a wise decision – but they also caution us to be more aware of our underwater fellows.

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Blue whales weigh 200 tons and are three times the size of the largest land dinosaur, formally named dreadnoughtus schrani. The Dreadnoughtus Schrani (“dreadnoughtus” meaning “dreads or fears nothing”), was so named because of the massive battleships (called “dreadnoughts”) in the twentieth century.