GRAY WHALE MIGRATION IS SLOW OR THERE’S A CHANGE IN POPULATION

GRAY WHALE MIGRATION IS SLOW THIS YEAR.

There’s a considerable lessening of numbers migrating southwards this time of the  year and there may be many causes.

As the Arctic continues to melt at an extraordinary rate, the whales may be remaining in their feeding habitats as they may be able to access benthic food sources previously unavailable.   Gray whales are shallow feeders but with melting ice it is possible the whales are moving further out.

Climate change may be inhibiting the benthic community on which the whales depend.   There may be a change in the population.   Given the big numbers of cows and calves we’ve seen in the past three years, the Coalition would expect to see many more whales than we’re currently seeing.

There may be an increase in orca predation.   Large pods of transients have been seen and given the shortage of prey for these animals, its possible there has been increased predation.  No studies have been funded for a number of years.

Pasted below is the latest graph from the American Cetacean Society.   The graph sets out the differences in the last two migrations.

December l8,2016


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