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Posted in Species Spotlight

The colossal comeback of the humpback whale

Oct 28, 2020

Wildfires raging, a seemingly never-ending global pandemic and the ongoing issue of racial injustice… there’s no avoiding the fact that the world feels like it’s in a dark place at the moment.

To counteract the bleakness and provide a spark of hope, we need to come together to look for positives while celebrating and protecting nature.

Nature itself is, of course, worth celebrating and fighting for. For all the challenges that 2020 has brought, many of us have used the great outdoors as an escape – somewhere to temporarily forget about the challenges of society and enjoy the simple pleasure of being surrounded by nature.

A close encounter with an ocean giant. Image credit: Karim Iliya

As we’ve mentioned in other blog posts, seeing parts of nature recovering from the destructive effects of capitalism has been one of the few upsides to the coronavirus pandemic. Threatened marine creatures including turtles and whales have been observed more frequently than usual, serving as a hopeful reminder that some species can spring back from the brink when given the chance.

One cetacean in particular – the humpback whale – is an impressive example of the ocean’s resilience. Despite the deadly effects of climate change, commercial fishing and a whaling industry that reduced the global population of humpbacks by over 90% during the 20th century, this enormous and impressive species has made a remarkable recovery.

Humpbacks that breed off the coast of Brazil are now being observed in huge numbers, with the local population having regained around 93% of its original size. As whale biologist Dr Kirsten Thomas notes in an article for Time magazine, “by taking away the threat of hunting, and having safe spaces to survive and thrive, humpback numbers in many areas have recovered.”

Tales like these give us hope that we can work towards the recovery of other animal populations around the globe. From our rainforests to our oceans, there are countless animals depending on us to take care of the habitats that make up our world. At Under The Skin it’s our mission to make a positive difference to the planet, and stories like the humpback whale’s give us a much-needed reminder that there is hope to be found.

A humpback breaks the surface of the ocean. The precise motives behind breaching behavior are still uncertain, according to the Whale Trust organization. Image credit: Karim Iliya

While whaling no longer poses the same threat it once did, a new danger for humpbacks and countless other marine species is rising in our oceans: plastic. Although awareness is increasing about the dangers of this everyday material, there’s still much to be done to prevent plastic from blighting our seas and putting incredible creatures like the humpback whale in danger.

Introducing Lonely Whale

One organisation that’s doing its part in the war against plastic is Lonely Whale. From helping to ban plastic straws from entire cities to empowering the youth of today to provoke policy change, to transitioning global brands from plastic to more sustainable alternatives, we’re in awe of what this inspiring organisation has achieved.

We’re especially honoured to announce that we’ve collaborated with Lonely Whale to produce a limited edition humpback whale print.

Available via our online print shop, this exclusive artwork is both a celebration of ocean life and a reminder of the role we all have in protecting it. To do our part, we’ll be donating 20% of the proceeds from this print to help fund innovative solutions to the problem of plastic pollution.

Our latest handcrafted artwork is created in exclusive partnership with Lonely Whale.

Take action. Buy the print.

By purchasing one of these prints, you’re not just buying a handcrafted depiction of a truly iconic animal: you’re also helping to protect some of the world’s most amazing creatures.

Of course, there are other ways to help too. Why not start by sharing this article, donating to Lonely Whale or tune into the 52 Hertz podcast – the Lonely Whale podcast?

A huge thank you to the talented Karim Iliya for his breathtaking underwater photography. You can discover more of his images of whales, threatened wildlife, and delicate ecosystems over on his website and Instagram.

Written by
Matt Ayres

Matt is a freelance writer and journalist. His articles have appeared in publications including The Guardian and World of Animals.

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