A young gray whale, born in California’s coastal waters, has been wandering around the western Mediterranean in recent weeks as the first of its species to ever appear there.
Marine biologists believe it got lost while feeding in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea and eventually wound up in the Atlantic rather than its Pacific home waters.
While apparently healthy, the whale looks unusually thin because the Mediterranean doesn’t have the kind of food it is used to. Experts hope the lost whale can make it down the Spanish coast, through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic, where it has a better chance of survival.
An average of seven manatee deaths have been reported each day in Florida so far this year as the U.S. government and local marine mammal experts try to find what’s behind the spike in fatalities.
About 675 manatee carcasses were found from January 1 to mid-April, compared to 637 in all of last year. Nearly half of the sea cow fatalities occurred around the Indian River Lagoon. Recent algae blooms and pollution have killed off the area’s seagrass beds, which the manatees feed on.
Development and habit loss are also adding stress to the animals, as is chronic exposure to pesticides such as glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup. Red tide outbreaks from the widespread use of fertilizers are also polluting manatee habitats.