Humpback whales are close to losing endangered status

Since it began in earnest in the early 20th century, whaling of the South Atlantic Humpback has brought the magnificent species to near extinction, and caused immeasurable damage to the oceans' ecosystems as a result. But conservation efforts in the years since have paid dividends, and experts now say that the marine mammal's population is recovering well.


A Whale Breaching unsplash.com

A new report is saying that endangered Humpback whales are rebounding from being nearly extinct.

Whaling in the South Atlantic goes all the way back to the 18th century when the British and French industrialized the practice. And beginning in 1904 it is estimated that 25,000 South Atlantic Humpbacks were captured over just 12 years. That's a little over 2,000 per year, a staggering number.

By 1964 the entire global population of Humpbacks was reduced to just 5,000Humpback was down to 440, and South Atlantic. Causing the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which regulated the whaling industry, to ban the fishing of Humpbacks altogether.

In 1970 the whale was placed on the endangered species list. But it took until 1985 to ban all whaling, by then the world's whale populations were reduced by an estimated 95%, and some species were completely extinct.

The result on the environment included degradation of habitats, and yes, it affected global warming as well. Some experts report that 160k tons of carbon would be removed from the atmosphere per year if whale populations are restored to pre-whaling levels.

That's the bad news.



The good news is that since the ban on whaling, whales have seen quite the comeback. Where the South Atlantic group was nearly gone in the mid-twentieth century a study has found that the population is back to 30% of the pre-whaling strength, with a number something like 25,000 individuals.

NOAA's Alexandre Zerbini told The USA Today that, "This is a clear example that if we do the right thing then the population will recover. I hope it serves as an example that we can do the same thing for other animal populations."

And we don't really know what the ultimate effect of the increase of whale populations yet. There are more studies that need to be done. However, we can be sure that some of the damage that has been done can be reversed and perhaps improved.

We need to remain vigilant, the WSA humpback is nearly off the endangered species list, not fully off of it. Efforts to conserve and rehabilitate populations of the entire species must continue, if not accelerate altogether.

For now, however we can simply enjoy the fact that this amazing animal is actively reviving in its environment and helping make the planet stronger for all of us.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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