We watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home last night. It holds up better than I thought it would. At the end, I found myself trying to imagine the conversation between the whales and the probe. Probably something like this:
— Hey! We’re still here! Or, we’re back, anyway!
— Oh, good! What happened to you? We’ve been trying to reach you for ages.
— Apparently the humans killed us all.
— Wait, they did WHAT?
— Well, some of them did. But some of them brought us forward through time to make up for it. They won’t kill us now.
— They’d BETTER NOT!
— I think we’re OK now.
— *sigh* OK, good to know. We’ll go report back. Keep in touch.
And I also imagined their reactions at the end, as they frolic in the 23rd-century ocean:
Wow! We’re in the open sea! And we talked to aliens! And the humans have stopped hunting us! And they’ve stopped polluting the oceans! This is AWESOME!
Well, except for the whole thing with us being the only humpback whales on the planet. But it’s not like we were really able to talk to much of anyone from the aquarium to begin with.
Seriously, though, it’s encouraging to know that, decades after the ban on hunting went into effect, the humpback whale population has rebounded so successfully that most populations are no longer threatened by extinction. I found articles citing a worldwide population of “over 80,000” and “just under 100,000” in 2016 — an order of magnitude more than the less-than-10,000 that were left in the 1980s!