Featured Image Credit: Brookepalmerimage
By Sarah Sharkey
Usually, a whale sighting is something exciting and an overall positive experience, but this recent string of sighting is raising the alarm for gray whales off the California coast. The cause for concern is that the whales did not have flukes! That’s right, they were missing their tails.
As many as five gray whales have been since missing their tails. The sightings are taking place as thousands of gray whales make their migration north along the West Coast to their summer feeding grounds off Alaska.
A California whale researcher, Alisa Schilma-Janiger, said: “I can’t see any other reason besides entanglements.” Even though the number of reported whale entanglements has not been particularly high this season.
Although some of the whales are surviving without tails, at least one has died. She was a juvenile female that was unable to evade a killer whale attack due to her missing tail.
Apparently, crab fishing gear seems to be the culprit in most whale entanglements. It is unclear on what can be done to avoid future whale entanglements that have such a negative impact on a whale. Losing your tail is a huge problem in the ocean, even though some are surviving it will take an extreme amount of extra effort and luck to continue to survive tailless.
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