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Gray Whales Are Dying at an Alarming Rate and Scientists Don’t Know Why

Gray Whales are dying off at an alarming rate and scientists don’t quite know why. The last time something like this happened was in 1999-2000 and when that happened it was due to climate changes and food sources being disrupted. There is an investigation going on now about why this is happening now for a second time in such a short period.

Gray Whales are washing up on the Pacific Coast but those that wash up only represent about 3.9 to 13% of the actual deaths. Since 2019 an estimated 386 gray whales have been found stranded on the coast from Mexico to Canada.

Gray whale calf by Marc Webber/USFWS
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In the Marine Mammal Protection Act an unusual mortality event(which is what they are calling this) is defined as a “stranding event that is unexpected, involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population, and demands immediate response.”

The NOAA Fisheries have found that a lot of the stranded whales show signs of emaciation which is being unusually thin and weak. They are currently investigating what could cause that and if it has something to do with an illness or if yet again their food supply is depleted due to more changes in the climate.

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