Tuesday April 2, 2024

The Seattle Times

A new count of the gray whale population along the West Coast shows “signs of recovery” five years after hundreds of them washed ashore and the population began declining, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Scientists estimate the total number of eastern north Pacific Gray whales to be somewhere between 17,400 and 21,300, an increase from last year’s estimate, which had shown another year of decline. Last season, scientists estimated between 13,200 and 15,960 whales.

“It’s nice to be able to report some good news the last couple of years,” said Aimee Lang, a research biologist with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

There had been hints that the population might be starting to recover as researchers last year saw fewer skinny gray whales, more mothers with their calves and fewer dead whales washed ashore, Lang said.

Now the new population estimates are the latest sign things might be trending in the right direction for the intrepid species.

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