The federal government on Monday proposed removing most of the world's humpback whale population from the endangered species list, saying they have rebounded after 45 years of protections. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries wants to reclassify humpbacks into 14 distinct populations, and remove 10 from the list. "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. Humpbacks were listed in 1970, four years after the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling. AP

Associated Press