gray whales

(National Park Service photo)

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.

(Gray Whales Count Photo)

Just released census number for gray whales migrating off the Central and South Coasts show the largest numbers of adults and calves in a decade.

The non-profit organization Gray Whales County estimates that more than 1100 calves, and 4000 whales were part of the general migration, with a total of more than 6400 on the northbound trip. Volunteers staffed a counting post on the coast near UC Santa Barbara for a 100 day period from February to May.

The survey data is used by groups involved with whale research to try to assess the health of the population.

A unique annual census in Santa Barbara County is complete, and shows the once endangered grey whale population on the West Coast appears to be healthy.