How Many Whales Are Left in the World?

Robbie Shade/CC-BY 2.0

The best estimates from the International Whaling Commission indicate that there are roughly 1.7 million whales in the world. However, it is impossible to count the number of whales or any other ocean-dwelling creature accurately, and thus, the real number of whales in the world may be significantly lower or higher than this figure.

These numbers reflect estimates that were made between 1985 and 2007. The whales counted include Minke, Blue, Fin, Gray, Bowhead, Humpback, Right, Bryde’s and Pilot.

When estimating whale populations, scientists looked at sections of the world rather the entire world at once. Whether the scientists were making an estimate for the Southern Hemisphere, the North Pacific, or any other area, the numbers derived from their work were simply estimates, and in some cases, the scientists indicated that the real numbers may be up to 50 percent higher or lower than the estimated numbers.