APR 15, 2019 06:17 AM PDT

Gulf of Mexico Bryde's Whale Now Recognized by the NOAA as Endangered

It seems like each passing day brings a new wave of animal conservationists warning the world about the risk of a specific species inching closer to extinction, and we’re afraid this story won’t be any different.

A group of federal scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is now calling for a small subset of Bryde’s whales from the Gulf of Mexico to be recognized under the United States’ Endangered Species Act, a move that would increase protections for the subspecies to prevent its numbers from diminishing to an unrecoverable figure.

Image Credit: NOAA

Other Bryde’s whale subspecies exist around the globe, and despite their similar appearances, the population found exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico region exhibits substantial genetic differences from the rest. Some of those differences are so great that many have suggested recognizing the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale subspecies as an entirely different species in and of itself, but this hasn’t yet happened.

It’s estimated that there could be fewer than 100 of the Gulf of Mexico’s unique Bryde’s whale subspecies in existence today, and sadly, their population numbers continue to be threatened by a plethora of human-induced factors including fishing gear entanglements, marine noise pollution, oil spills, and vessel strikes, among others.

"They're the only year-round baleen whales that make their home in the Gulf of Mexico, and (they) have a unique and very important role in the ecosystem," elucidated NOAA marine mammal biologist Laura Engleby. Given the circumstances, it’s not hard to see why they must be saved – their population depletion could have an ever-lasting impact on the environment in which they live.

Related: Deceased whale from the Philippines had more than 88 pounds' worth of plastic in its gut

In recognizing the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale as endangered, the NOAA has effectively put out a ‘code red’ alert that will prompt animal conservationists to double down on their protection. In a nutshell, this means working to ensure the species’ population revival and to impose harsher laws and punishments on entities that prevent that from happening.

Conserving the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale will be a challenge because the subspecies isn’t well understood. On the other hand, every effort helps; ensuring that it doesn’t fade away is a critical step in maintaining the ecosystem’s delicate balance. Doing otherwise would potentially tip the scales, resulting in catastrophic consequences for the entire ecosystem.

Related: More than 145 dead whales found beached in New Zealand

With a little luck, perhaps conservationists will devise an effective plan to protect the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale. Only time will tell, however…

Source: NOAA via ABC News

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
FEB 11, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 11, 2019
An Attempt to Get Two Critically-Endangered Sumatran Tigers to Mate Went Terribly Wrong
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the Sumatran tiger as a critically-endangered species on the agency’s Red List,...
FEB 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
FEB 21, 2019
Cannabis 101: Now Accepting Students
Michigan voters recently legalized recreational cannabis. A few months later, PharmSci 420 (I'm serious, that is the class's real name and number)...
MAR 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
MAR 20, 2019
Fall Migration is an Important Factor in Monarch Butterfly Population Assessments
A variety of different factors threaten many of the world's natural pollinators, and monarch butterflies are no exception to that statement. Conservati...
MAR 25, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAR 25, 2019
Heir to the Throne - the Selection of the Queen Bee
Honeybee queen larvae are held in a specific orientation using protein rich "royal jelly" that directs their development into the Queen Bee....
APR 11, 2019
Earth & The Environment
APR 11, 2019
Young Sea Ice Melting Too Soon
Recent research has revealed a new development that may take us closer to an ice-free Arctic summer. Scientists consider the Russian marginal seas of the A...
APR 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
APR 15, 2019
Only Known Female Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle Dies
Asia’s Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is perhaps one of the world’s rarest turtle species. Before this week, there were only...
Loading Comments...