Humpback whales have been listed on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) endangered species list since its establishment in 1973. Now, more than 40 years later, experts from NOAA are removing nine of the 14 humpback whale populations in North American waters from the list, citing international conservation efforts as the main reason for the species’ recovery.
These majestic whales are best known for their acrobatic breaches and beautiful songs. Scientists believe the intention of their music—often sung by males and lasting up to 20 minutes—is to attract a mate.
While this is tremendous news for humpback whales, seven species of yellow-faced bees landed on the list this month. These bees are the only species native to Hawaii, meaning they initially found their way to the island early in their evolution.
Once found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the bee populations have diminished. The introduction of nonnative plant species, habitat destruction and natural disasters, such as tsunamis and droughts, have nearly destroyed their populations. The bees’ new place on the list brings attention to their importance and new urgency for their continued protection.
Listen to a humpback’s song and learn more about these amazing animals here. Read more about the protection of bees here.