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Superheroes of the deep: humpbacks bounce back from near extinction to help fight climate change

Finally, some good environment news: the humpback whale population is recovering from near extinction with 40,000 expected off the Australian east coast this breeding season, while helping the world fight climate change.

The East Australian Humpback is set to reach a population of 40,000 this breeding season.

The East Australian Humpback is set to reach a population of 40,000 this breeding season. Credit:Whale Watching Sydney

In a normal year, May marks the start of the whale watching season with ships and boats jostling for best viewing positions in search of the East Australian Humpback as they migrate from Antarctica to give birth in the Great Barrier Reef.

This year, thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions on tourists, the whales are journeying solo.

Dr Wally Franklin, from Southern Cross University’s Marine Ecology Research Centre, said the East Australian Humpback is now growing 10 per cent annually. This is a feat marine biologists thought “impossible” after numbers had crashed to 150 during the 1960s, before international pressure led to whaling bans.

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