The Gray Whale Is More Likely to Die

New peril for gray whale survival? Predatory orcas spotted in Baja calving lagoon A gray whale with the head of a whale is pictured at a breeding beach in Catalina Island, near Los Angeles….

The Gray Whale Is More Likely to Die

New peril for gray whale survival? Predatory orcas spotted in Baja calving lagoon

A gray whale with the head of a whale is pictured at a breeding beach in Catalina Island, near Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences, used by permission)

A pregnant gray whale was found washed ashore in Mexico’s Baja California this month. (Photo courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences, used by permission)

Photo courtesy of The California Academy of Sciences

A gray whale was found washed ashore along the coast of Mexico’s Baja California. (Photo by the California Academy of Sciences, used by permission)

Photo courtesy of The California Academy of Sciences

A gray whale was found washed ashore along the coast of Mexico’s Baja California. (Photo by the California Academy of Sciences, used by permission)

An abandoned gray whale was found washed ashore along the coast of Mexico’s Baja California this month. The whale had previously been sighted by a Mexican fishing boat, and authorities were investigating the possibility that it could have been killed by predators, such as killer whales and whales.

An abandoned gray whale was found washed ashore along the coast of Mexico’s Baja California this month. The whale had previously been sighted by a Mexican fishing boat, and authorities were investigating the possibility that it could have been killed by predators, such as killer whales and whales. (Photo by KAURITZAS / SHUTTERSTOCK)

While the gray whale is considered endangered — the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists it as vulnerable — the animal is sometimes targeted by humans. In the last several decades, an increasing number of reports have documented gray whale deaths, with some cases linked to ship strikes or other ship encounters. In 2013 alone, more than 500 gray whales were reported dead on Pacific Ocean beaches, including about 70 in California.

Some researchers believe gray whales are more likely to perish as a result of human interference with their habitats. There are two primary reasons for this: first, gray whales are

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