The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers. Like other large whales, the humpback was a target for the whaling industry. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, its population fell by an estimated 90% before a 1966 moratorium. While stocks have partially recovered to some 80,000 animals worldwide, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships and noise pollution continue to impact on the species.
Balaena allamack, Balaena atlanticus, Balaena lalandii, Balaena longimana, Balaena nodosa, Balaena novaeangliae, Balaenoptera astrolabe, Balaenoptera capensis, Balaenoptera leucopteron, Balaenoptera syncondylus, Kyphobalaena keporkak, Megaptera americana, Megaptera antarctica, Megaptera bellicosa, Megaptera boops, Megaptera brasiliensis, Megaptera braziliensis, Megaptera burmeisteri, Megaptera gigas, Megaptera indica, Megaptera kusira, Megaptera lalandii, Megaptera longimana, Megaptera longipinna, Megaptera nodosa, Megaptera novaezelandiae, Megaptera osphya, Megaptera osphyia, Megaptera poescop, Megaptera versabilis, Poescopia lalandii, Rorqualus antarcticus, Rorqualus australis
The Humpback Whale is a cosmopolitan species with a large range covering all oceans. The current global population is estimated at 135,000 and the mature population at about 84,000, which is higher than the level of three generations ago. This is true of the global population as well as the three main regional populations individually – North Pacific, North Atlantic and the Southern Hemisphere. The species does not, therefore, qualify for a Red List threatened category, and is listed as Least Concern. The Arabian Sea subpopulation appears to be isolated, is very small, and is listed separately as Endangered (Minton et al. 2008).