A month-long expedition, funded by the New Zealand government's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and Department of Conservation (DOC), found the population of the endangered southern right whales was slowly recovering, Xinhua reported.

"The Campbell Island study confirmed the second remnant population of southern right whales after the first was identified at Auckland Island almost 20 years ago," NIWA marine ecologist David Thompson said on Friday.

The team of scientists from New Zealand, US and Scotland recorded about 50-60 southern right whales over two days at Campbell Island.

The southern right whale was once abundant around New Zealand, but was hunted to near-extinction in the mid-1800s.With few sightings around the mainland for decades, it was feared extinct in New Zealand.

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