Eastern Pacific gray whales, tired and hungry, are breeding less

Researchers say the gray whales of the eastern Pacific are in deep trouble, and their fate could be an indicator of ocean health. According to Earthwatch, whales migrating from their feeding grounds north of Seattle to breeding grounds off the Mexican coast are arriving scrawny, malnourished, exhausted, and — how to put this — not in the mood. “They seem to spend their time looking around for food when they should be breeding,” says researcher William Megill. “We’re not really sure what is going on now.” Possible reasons for the trend include warming oceans due to climate change, dwindling food at the edge of the Arctic ice pack due to climate change, and an unsustainably high population due to … randy whale behavior of the past. Whatever the issue, scientists say more study is warranted. “It may be a lot more serious than just gray whales,” Megill says. “They may just be the early warning sign of changes for the whole Pacific, and we urgently need to know what’s going on.”