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We might soon have 1 fewer animal on the endangered species list. Here's why that's a bit worrying.

The conservation efforts have been a "success story," but is it too early to take humpback whales off the endangered species list?

We might soon have 1 fewer animal on the endangered species list. Here's why that's a bit worrying.

Since June 1970, humpback whales have been considered an endangered species, but that might soon change.

In what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is calling a conservation "success story," it looks like some humpback whales might be removed from the endangered species list they've been on for the past 45 years.

This isn't to say that all is well in the world of humpback whales, but NOAA has noted a marked improvement, suggesting that whale populations have stabilized in many parts of the world.


Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

Last month, NOAA announced plans to segment humpback whales into a number of groups and take most off the endangered species list.

As you can see on NOAA's map, under their proposal, only the whales found in zones shaded in pink would remain "endangered," and the ones shaded in yellow would be "threatened." The rest would be considered "not at risk."

Image by NOAA.

However, some conservationists aren't on board, saying the plan is premature and that the whale population hasn't increased enough yet to be removed from the list.

In an interview with The Guardian, Regina Asmutis-Silvia from Whale and Dolphin Conservation of North America said, "Humpbacks are a really complicated species to really review for declaring these distinct population segments. They are highly migratory in most places, but not everywhere."

She added, "It's not so simple as drawing a line and saying, 'They belong to this population and there's a lot of them so we are going to take them off the list.'"

In other words, the same whales might travel in and out of zones marked "endangered" and "not at risk" simply through their regular travels, regardless of which group they're in.

Photo by Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images.

At first glance, this looks like a great idea. However, this might not be as well-intentioned a move on NOAA's part as we're led to believe.

Two groups — one in Alaska and one in Hawaii — want NOAA to take humpbacks off the endangered list, but they have their own interests at heart in doing so.

Being on the endangered list means that individuals and businesses need to take extra precautions when it comes to working near the whale's habitat. For example, this might mean not being able to drill for oil or have ships come in and out of state ports as freely as a group would like.

So, while the whale population HAS made a comeback in recent years, the reasons for taking them off the list have to do with the very things that made them endangered in the first place.

NOAA is accepting public comment on their new proposal from now until July 20, 2015, at which point they'll make a decision about whether or not to remove the whales from the endangered species list.

Humpback whales are beautiful, smart creatures, and they deserve our protection.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

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