A population of Humpback whales that had been decimated by commercial whaling has been brought back from the brink of extinction according to a new study.

The research published in the journal Royal Society Open Science last week says that the western South Atlantic humpback population is well on its way to recovering.  Because of the moratorium on all commercial whaling adopted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the whales "have recovered strongly, and their current abundance is close to 25,000 whales".

That is about 93 percent of the western South Atlantic humpback population in 1830 before commercial whaling over the ensuing decades gutted it.  The practice took a large toll on the global humpback population between the late 1700s and the mid-1900s.  By the mid-1950s, it's believed there were only 450 left.  

The report states that recovery really took off beginning in the 1970s, which was right around the time more international restrictions on whaling came into force.  The study's lead author, Alex Zerbini of the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Marine Mammal Laboratory, because they show that an endangered species can come back from near extinction.

"Wildlife populations can recover from exploitation if proper management is applied," he said.