After a five-year debate in which their breeding grounds hung in the balance (see "A Sea of Troubles," cover story, January/February 1998), endangered California gray whales
will finally be able to blow a breath of relief.
banned all hunting of gray whales
, since commercial whaling had practically killed off the entire population.
They are 35-foot gray whales
that chew 10-foot-wide pits from the sand, leaving the shoreline pockmarked with puddles.
January and February, gray whales
calve and breed in coastal lagoons, while humpbacks and blues are visible along the coast
The big hoopla over watching gray whales
along the Oregon Coast takes place each December, but the best time to see one of the 30-ton beasts is now, in the dead of summer.
Commercial whaling, especially for gray whales
, Eschrichtius robustus, and humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, at California and Baja California shore stations in the 19th century (1854-1899)," by Randall R.
He said when most people think of whale watching in Southern California, they think of gray whales
that migrate relatively close to shore in the winter.
Distinct habitats were described for bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), white whales (Delphinapterus leucas), and gray whales
(Eschrichtius robustus) on the basis of habitat selection ratios calculated for bathymetric and ice cover regimes.
Greenman also pointed to the barnacles - patchy white spots on gray whales
- on its top side.
In total, we compiled an individual data set of 28 western gray whales
(WGSs) and 1 presumptive eastern gray whale
Bowhead whales use the eastern Chukchi Sea primarily for migrating between the Beaufort Sea and the Bering Sea, while gray whales
use the area to feed on locally abundant benthic amphipods and other prey.