APR 15, 2019 6:17 AM PDT

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

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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
MAR 29, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Just discovered, already endangered
MAR 29, 2021
Just discovered, already endangered
Research published recently in Zootaxa details the finding of two species of screech owls that live in the Amazon and At ...
MAY 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
MAY 10, 2021
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
How do sharks make transatlantic journeys without losing their way? New research published this week in Current Biology ...
JUN 25, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Towards More Efficient Plant Engineering with CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Drive
JUN 25, 2021
Towards More Efficient Plant Engineering with CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Drive
Many people in the world don't have access to enough food. And while humans might find ways to adapt to a changing world ...
JUL 03, 2021
Earth & The Environment
What Temperature is a Problem for Life on Earth?
JUL 03, 2021
What Temperature is a Problem for Life on Earth?
Researchers led by the Technical University of Munich have identified both preferable and dangerous temperature ranges f ...
JUL 08, 2021
Earth & The Environment
New System Predicts Future Cod Supplies for Next 10 Years
JUL 08, 2021
New System Predicts Future Cod Supplies for Next 10 Years
Cod stocks in the North Sea and the Barents Sea may be predicted ten years in advance for the first time, thanks to a ne ...
JUL 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Cannabis Cultivation Isn't Actually Very Water-Thirsty
JUL 09, 2021
Cannabis Cultivation Isn't Actually Very Water-Thirsty
Cannabis cultivation is traditionally thought of as a particularly water-thirsty operation, but new evidence suggests th ...
Loading Comments...