Southern Right Whales Rebounding in South African Waters

In a rare bit of good news about the marine environment, southern right whales are making an impressive comeback in the waters of South Africa. The mammals were pushed to the brink of extinction by whaling until protections were put in place in 1935; in recent years, annual counts off the South African coast have found steadily increasing numbers. Last year, 845 right whales were counted, 169 more than in the previous year. Rebounding whale populations are also a boon for South Africa’s tourism industry. Globally, whale watching generates some $1 billion annually, bringing 5 million visitors to 87 nations, according to a 2000 study by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Whale watching from villages along South Africa’s coast is considered particularly eco-friendly because no boats are needed; the animals can be seen in action from the shore.