Gray Whale

Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) were extensively hunted from the mid 1800s to the mid-

From Cetacean Society International Photo Gallery

From Cetacean Society International Photo Gallery

1900s. In the Pacific, there are thought to be two distinct populations: one in the eastern Pacific (along the west coasts of U.S. and Canada), and the other in the western Pacific (along the east coasts of Asia and Russia). After the end of (legal) industrial whaling, the population in the eastern Pacific has increased dramatically, and it has even been removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List. The western Pacific population has not shown such recovery, and currently exists at exceedingly low numbers. The majority of the eastern population migrates from the winter calving grounds near Baja California to the summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. However, each year some individuals stop their migration short, and remain along the coast of Vancouver throughout the summer. The relationship of these individuals to the rest of the population is unknown, and we are currently working to address this issue. The status of these individuals is particularly important because there is an increased interest in resuming native hunting of gray whales in this area.