I was doing a bit of research for a trip I have coming up and I was again looking at why the US is currently supporting an IWC move to resume commercial whaling (See the previous blog entry on Presdent Obama and whaling) and of course the US sesnistivity to aboriginal subistence whaling and US native peoples.
This leads to questions about populations of whales hunted by US citizens and that brings us to Gray Whales. And what is happening to Gray Whales at the moment?
Well despite the US Government's assurances it would seem something bad is happening.The animals are currently migrating from Mexico to their summer feeding grounds around Alaska. But when they get this far from the Pacific, it is sometimes hard to find food.
But in the last fifteen days it appears five dead gray whales have been found - four in Puget Sound waters and the fifth near Vancouver, B.C.
Now its not unusual for a few deaths each migration, but WDCS and
biologists studying the whales are watching what is happening with some
alarm, especially as whale-watchers have reported a large drop in the
number of sightings of Gray whales off the west coast of the United
It seems that whale-watching boats in California said sightings have dropped from 25 a day in good years to just five a day this year.
A study last year showed the number of calves fell from more than 1,000 in 2006 to 312 in 2009. Randy Reeves, Chairman of the Cetacean specialist group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, is reported as having said: "These are troubling numbers. If they're being reinforced by comments from whale watchers then it gets that much more troubling."
So what is happening out there? Is climate degradation having an effect on food supplies? Is it disease? Or something else.
Whatever it is, hunting is the last thing these creatures should be subjected to.