The world's smallest whale population is the North Pacific right whale, new surveys show, with only 30 whales alive today.
DNA and photo surveys indicate that the world's smallest whale population is the eastern North Pacific right whale.
Only around 30 eastern North Pacific right whales still exist, with just eight females and 20-22 males.
Scientists say 19th century whaling and more recent Soviet catches led to this whale's downfall.
Only 30 eastern North Pacific right whales are left on the planet, making it the world's smallest population of whales, according to a paper published in this week's Royal Society Biology Letters.
Scientists believe 19th century whaling and recent illegal catches by the USSR led to this whale's dramatic downfall. Reports from the mid 1800's suggest that these whales once numbered at least 23,000 from North America to the Okhotsk Sea and Japan.
Surveys now suggest that only around eight female and 20-22 male eastern North Pacific right whales are left.
"With such small numbers, and so few females, we cannot predict whether this population will increase or decrease," lead author Paul Wade told Discovery News. "It could go either way. Under ideal conditions, a right whale population could increase by at least a few percent per year, but probably not such a small population like this."