Humpback whales are no longer teetering on the edge of extinction. But does that mean they're recovered enough to be stripped of protections?
The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service thinks so - on Monday, it proposed de-listing 10 of the 14 populations of humpbacks from the Endangered Species Act. First listed in 1970, the whales have rebounded lately - officials say so much so that they no longer require the listing.
"As we learn more about the species - and realize the populations are largely independent of each other - managing them separately allows us to focus protection on the animals that need it the most," Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries, said in a statement.