Gray whale back in Mediterranean?

This video from Israel is about the recent gray whale sighting.

From Wildlife Extra:

Pacific Gray whale spotted in the Mediterranean Sea – Major puzzle for scientists

13/05/2010 23:02:36

Back from the dead? Gray whale found in the Mediterranean

May 2010. The recent sighting of a Gray whale off the coast of Israel has triggered great excitement, confusion and some head scratching amongst conservation experts as it either heralds the return of the North Atlantic Gray whale (Thought to have been extinct for hundreds of years), or the whale in question has shattered all previous records for the longest migration by the species, and probably the strangest.

Three populations of Gray whale until 17th Century

At one stage there were three populations of Gray whale. The North Atlantic population became extinct in the 17th -18th centuries for reasons that are not clear, and no sightings have been made since. Today there is a tiny remnant population in the western North Pacific of no more than a few hundred individuals (listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered). The main surviving population is found in the eastern North Pacific where, despite having had their population numbers reduced to a few hundred at one stage, has now recovered to some 20,000. So, for a Gray whale to appear in the Mediterranean like this it must either have travelled a very long distance by a highly unusual route, or it signals the possible return of the North Atlantic Gray whale from extiction.

Photo ID

After the whale was spotted off the coast of Herzliya Marina, researchers from IMMRAC (Israel Marine Mammal Research & Assistance Centre) in Israel went to investigate on the 9th May, and it was only when they took a look at their photographs back on dry land that the enormity of the situation became clear.

WDCS Species Programme Lead, Nicola Hodgins said; “This discovery is truly amazing. Today, Gray whales only inhabit the Pacific Ocean, so to find one in the North Atlantic, let alone the Mediterranean Sea, is bizarre in the extreme.

Huge migrations are normal

“Gray whales are well known for performing one of the world’s longest migrations, making a yearly round trip of 15,000-20,000 kms. Over a lifetime, a gray whale migrates the equivalent distance of a return trip to the moon; however, these new images show that this particular whale would have had to beat all previous distance records to end up where it has. Its presence off the coast of Israel will certainly pose a lot of questions to the scientific community.”

May 2010. A grey whale spotted feeding just off Vancouver may be a sign that efforts to restore the area’s natural ecosystem are working are beginning to take effect. The whale has been seen in and around different parts of Vancouver for a week or so, including False Creek, Squamish and Howe Sound: here.

ScienceDaily (May 31, 2010) — Whales are remarkably diverse, with 84 living species of dramatically different sizes and more than 400 other species that have gone extinct, including some that lived partly on land. Why are there so many whale species, with so much diversity in body size? Here.

4 thoughts on “Gray whale back in Mediterranean?

  1. Pingback: Gray whale seen off Namibia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dolphins enjoying whales’ company | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Good Russian gray whale news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Mediterranean gray whale seen again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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