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Aerial view of a gray whale mother and calf
In the News

National Geographic: Why Are So Many Gray Whales Dying in the Pacific?

April 13, 2021
  • Malnutrition
  • Species conservation
  • Pathology

Scientists struggle to explain why the gray whale population plummeted by nearly a quarter between 2016 and 2020.

Published by National Geographic: April 13, 2021

As early morning fog lifts off the Baja California coastline, Alushe Camacho steers a small fishing boat through a mangrove-lined estuary, his eyes fixed on the horizon. During most of the year, Camacho hunts grouper, sole, and hammerhead sharks. Today he’s in search of gray whales.

After several minutes Camacho spies his target: a heart-shaped cloud of ocean spray erupting from the water. Suddenly an adult whale thrusts its tapered head straight through the surface, pausing for five long seconds before disappearing under the waves.

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species conservation
Pádraig Duignan
Gray Whale