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Marine Biologists Concerned About Unusually Large Number Of Gray Whale Deaths On West Coast

(National Park Service photo)
Some 40 Gray Whale deaths have been documented on the West Coast this season, with the total projected to go as high as 70

They’re a majestic part of sea life off the Central and South Coasts. But, the Gray Whale population is in trouble, with a much larger than average number of deaths.

John Calambokidis is a marine biologist. He’s co-founder of Washington State based Cascadia Research, which studies gray whales. He says more than 40 whales have turned up dead along the West Coast this season, and a number of other sick or malnourished ones have been spotted.

The biologist says possibilities being looked at include the population reaching the limits of its sustainability, combined with a lack of availability of  food. He says the unanswered questions make it important to perform necropsies on as many of the dead whales found as possible.

But, Calambokidis says despite the concern, the overall population is in good shape.

Still, some researchers say at the current pace, there could be as many as 70 whale deaths along the West Coast by the end of spring. They say the numbers would be the highest in years, and perhaps not a crisis, but a definite cause for concern.

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