Orange County Register

The gray whale moms spotted off the Southern California coast this weekend swimming with their babies was more than a beautiful scene – they were a sign of hope.

Several scenes on Saturday, January 9 with letters showing the whale counting five different pairs of calves and cows in Palos Verdes, Dana Point, and Oceanside provide good news for the creatures that have struggled in recent years.

With current restrictions on harvesting from the current epidemic, it will be difficult to determine how the gray whale species will progress this year, as hundreds of people will generally come forward to scan the water and count the whales. Annual census.

“This is a good sign, and the good news is that the moms were there,” said Alyssa Schulman-Janiger, co-founder of the Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, which usually meets at the Point Vincent presentation center. “During the worst years, we didn’t see many calves. We don’t have enough data to know what this means. It’s very good to see calves ”.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an extraordinary death in 2019 after dead gray whales, many of them starving and passed out, began to appear off the west coast.

That year, there were 214 gray whales in Canada, the United States and Mexico. In the United States, it was 122: 48 in Alaska, 34 in California, 34 in Washington, and six in Oregon.

Last year the species fared slightly better, with 172 dying from Canada to Mexico, 78 of which were in the United States alone.

So far this year, the NOAA website reports that no dead whales have been reported, but deaths generally occur when they return from hot springs in Mexico to food sites in Alaska.

Number of eastern North Pacific gray whales migrating along the Pacific coast. In a typical year, based on data collected from the 1990s, there are only about 35 strands per year. During the period from January 1 to May 31, an average of 14.8 whales were caught.

Schulman-Janiger said it was frustrating not being able to conduct her annual census, which begins January 1 in Palos Verdes, but that it was understandable due to health concerns during the outbreak.

So for the first time in 38 years, Schulman-Janiger doesn’t have an official record of how many people pass through Southern California, or if they are healthy.

But the scenes on Saturday indicate that he hopes to return.

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