Gray Whales Battle Overfishing, Climate Change

Gray Whales
Gray Whales Wikimedia Commons

A new genetic study has shown that the Pacific Gray whale, thought to have recovered from commercial whaling, is actually starving due to a deadly combo of warming oceans and overfishing.

Stanford's Stephen Palumbi, the study's lead researcher, told New Scientist that global warming could have caused the whales' natural prey to migrate outside their range (as a number of studies have suggested) or that commercial fishing may have gotten so bad that there just isn't enough to feed the massive creatures.

Either way, there are numerous reports of whales arriving at Mexico breeding grounds looking like skin and bones, with vertebrae and ribs sticking out where there ought to be layers of blubber.

And as if the whales weren't having enough problems trying to cope with global warming and overfishing, there's always the off-chance they'll be shot by someone with a machine gun.

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