News continues to worsen for marine mammals on the west coast. In addition to terrible domoic acid poisoning for seals and sea lions, whales are passing away at a record rate.
Thirty-one dead gray whales have been spotted along the entire West Coast since January — the most for this time of year since 2000. Dozens more have shown visible signs of malnourishment, and sightings of mother-calf pairs are down significantly.
Frances Gulland, a research associate at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, estimates that gray whale deaths could hit 60 or 70 by the end of the season.
"If this continues at this pace through May, we would be alarmed," she told the Los Angeles Times.
Marine scientist Steven Swartz said 23% of the whales without calves his team has observed in Baja's San Ignacio Lagoon this year were skinny. That's more than three times higher than usual.