Gray Whale, Extinct for Centuries, Sighted in Mediterranean


Gray whale in Baja California, photo: Marlin Harms

It's really not too often that there's some good news on the endangered species front, but this is one of those times. At the least it's really intriguing. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society reports that there's been a sighting of a gray whale in the Mediterranean in the waters off Israel. Historically there were three populations of gray whales; the ones which formerly would have been in this region, the North Atlantic population, has been extinct since the 18th century. So what's this gray whale doing there?WATCH VIDEO: Planet's Best - Baja Gray Whale

The current two areas where gray whale lives are in the western North Pacific and the eastern North Pacific. In the former region the whales remain critically endangered, while in the latter they have recovered after years of exploitation reduced them to just a few hundred individuals.

This particular whale was sighted off the coast of the Herzliya Marina on May 9th and has raised the possibility that gray whales may be recolonizing a part of the planet they haven't been in for 200 years.

UPDATE: There's more info, including some more personal accounts of the sighting from Israel here: Epoch Times
Whale Would've Had to Surpass All Migration Records
WCDS describes the enormity of the situation:

Gray whales are well known for performing one of the world's longest migrations, making a yearly round trip of 15,000-20,000 km. 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.

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Tags: Endangered Species | Israel | Whales

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