Humpbacks doing better but porpoises face extinction

GENEVA, August 12, 2008 (AFP) – Two whale species, the humpback and the southern right, are less under threat from becoming extinct, a new study released on Tuesday showed. However, smaller cetaceans, including a species of porpoise, were facing a greater risk of extinction, said the study, which was carried out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“Humpbacks and southern right whales are making a comeback in much of their range mainly because they have been protected from commercial hunting,” said Randall Reeves, of the (IUCN).

“This is a great conservation success and clearly shows what needs to be done to ensure these ocean giants survive,” added Reeves.

But nearly a quarter of cetacean species remained threatened, with 10 percent listed as endangered or critically endangered, including a species of porpoise, the study showed.

The vaquita or a porpoise found in the Gulf of California was expected to be the next cetacean species to go extinct, as only about 150 are alive in the wild now, said the IUCN.

The IUCN is a global environmental network of over 1,000 governments and non-governmental organisations. Its Red List