Author: Carol

The Arctic Population of Gray Whales is Defying Global Warming

The Arctic Population of Gray Whales is Defying Global Warming

New peril for gray whale survival? Predatory orcas spotted in Baja calving lagoon

A female gray whale with calf floats in Mexico during World Wildlife Day 2013

As global warming continues, a major threat is looming for the Arctic population of gray whales that migrate each summer to Baja California to breed.

This summer’s arrival at the Mexican beach of San Ignacio Bay marked the first successful calves to be born this year; in fact, there were more calves born than last year.

Experts say the increase in calves is the result of warming oceans that have left more food available in the ocean. They are also the result of less food available near the coast because of climate change. It has pushed the populations farther north.

While scientists point to the lack of food as a factor that drives these changes, they also say the population in the Arctic has been doing its own thing for years.

“It’s not clear at this point what is causing this. It’s one of those things that everybody is talking about,” said Ted Scambos, a marine ecologist with the Marine Science Institute at Stony Brook University.

Other gray whale populations have also been struggling, which is why scientists are concerned about the population’s decline. Researchers say it is unlikely that there are other factors at work that are not part of the causes of the population’s decline, but they are trying to find them.

“Right now we only have hypothesis,” said Scambos, who is also a member of the IUCN’s International Whaling Commission.

Gray Whales in the Arctic

Gray whales are the most common whale in the Arctic Ocean — only 10 to 20 percent of the ocean’s 100-400 whales are gray whales, but they are at the top of the list of marine species that have no natural predators in Arctic

Leave a Comment