A new research led by a team of UK scientists revealed that the severely endangered blue whale species has returned to the island of South Georgia, 5 decades after almost near extinction from commercial whale hunting. From tens of thousands of blue whales in the region, populations of the species continued to decline tremendously during the early 20th century. The team is studying how the species continue to recover after the ban on commercial whaling in the 1960’s. More than 42,000 whale huntings happened between 1904-1971 that almost wiped out the entire population. But earlier this year, 58 blue whales sightings and acoustic monitorings were detected.

Dr. Jennifer Jackson, whale ecologist and co-author of the study hopes that the increased numbers of blue whales are signs that the research can contribute to the effective management of the area. Susannah Calderan, lead author of the study said that the return of the blue whales has a positive impact on the environment. She mentioned that they fertilize the oceans and enable the growth of phytoplankton which is a source of food for other species. The discovery marked the start of the recovery of blue whales, which were once thought to never repopulate the area.