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Five dead gray whales wash up along Washington coast

By Web staff

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    WASHINGTON (KPTV) — The fifth gray whale to wash up on Washington’s coast this month alone was found dead on the state’s outer coast on Tuesday.

Since 2019, wildlife authorities have been looking into an extraordinary increase in the number of gray whale strandings.

Since 2019, there have been at least 100 gray whale strandings from Mexico to Alaska, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2023 there have already been 63.

In a typical year, Washington would experience 4-6 whale strandings; it has already experienced that many in June.

The population had been severely depleted by decades of commercial whaling, putting them in danger of going extinct.

Over the previous seven years, the population has decreased by over 40% after recovering to a new high point.

216 whale strandings were documented in 2019 from Canada through Mexico. 34 were reported in Washington state in the same year. Though stranding rates continue to be higher than average, that figure has started to gradually decline over the years.

According to early data, many whales were severely malnourished when they passed away. More research is being conducted because the discovery is not universal among whales.

“These latest mortality events seem to leave us guessing what it means,” John Calambokidis, the founder of Cascadia Research Collective, told FOX 13 in Seattle.

“To protect these whales it comes down to protecting things like their food resources,” he said. “Protecting the world’s climate and oceans from human-caused changes. These have repercussions that effect not just humans, but whales.”

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