LOS ANGELES >> New research suggests there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago.
The Los Angeles Times reports there are about 2,200 blue whales swimming on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean, from the equator up into Alaska.
Researchers previously assumed that the pre-whaling population was higher than that. However, the study using historical data to estimate the number of whales caught between 1905 and 1971 — when whaling became illegal — estimates the current population is 97 percent as large as it was before 1905.
The researchers at the University of Washington are calling the rebound a conservation success story.