Arctic Bowhead Whale Population Rebounding Despite Warming

Arctic Bowhead Whale Population Rebounding Despite Warming

Bowhead whale populations have nearly returned to their numbers pre-commercial whaling. An update from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration suggests that even in spite of Arctic warming, Bowhead whales have multiplied in Alaskan waters.

Why this Matters:  Bowhead whales were once nearly extinct, as commercial whalers at the turn of the twentieth century hunted them for their oil, blubber, and baleen.

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Alaska’s Bowhead Whales Are MIA, Leaving Eskimos Short of Key Source of Food

Alaska’s Bowhead Whales Are MIA, Leaving Eskimos Short of Key Source of Food

Alaskan Native Tribes began their annual bowhead whale hunt over a month ago, but so far in Utqiagvik the whalers have seen no whales — this is unprecedented — last year at this point in the hunt these Alaskans had already landed 20.  This was the warmest summer ever and there is less ice offshore according to the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, which many believe is causing the whales to migrate much farther away from shore.

Why This Matters:  Because of warmer temperatures in the Arctic, fish that used to remain farther south are moving into the region, with big implications for food security in Alaska and beyond.

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