Gray whales often hug the shoreline as they shuttle their calves from the warm winter breeding grounds of Baja California to their summer feeding areas in Alaska and the Arctic. Once hunted near extinction, gray whales have been able to bounce back to more sustainable population numbers. Unfortunately, new threats are emerging that once again concern those of us who love these majestic and charismatic giants.
Whales may dwarf every other living thing on earth but they are no match for a cargo ship traveling at high speeds. Every year, whales are struck and killed by ships carrying goods around the world. In 2007, five blue whales were killed as a result of ship strikes in the Santa Barbara Channel alone. Because this was a much larger number of fatalities than usual, and due to the blue whale’s endangered status, this greatly concerned scientists.