Why are so many whales washing up along the west coast?

Gray Whales Wash Ashore

Another dead whale was found stranded in the San Francisco Bay yesterday, making it the tenth discovered since March 10th.  

But in all, nearly 50 dead gray whales have been found along the coasts of California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.  

Scientists say climate change could be to blame.

This time of year, the whales migrate from Mexico to Alaska.  Occasionally, a few will make a pit stop in San Francisco.  But this year, more and more are staying longer and longer.  

“Historically, one or two gray whales would temporarily pass underneath the Golden Gate Bridge during this time period.  Last week alone, experts counted five entering the Bay,” said the Marine Mammal Center in a recent press release.  

Experts say there is definitely something weird going on.

While it’s exciting for the locals and the tourists, the whales aren’t stopping here for some rest and relaxation.  Sadly, they are stopping because they are starving.  They are so hungry that they aren’t able to continue their journey up north.  

Besides the whales that have turned up dead, many have been visibly emaciated.  

So why can’t they find food?  There are a couple of theories.

First, some think it may have to do with a growth in the overall gray whale population.  With more whales, there might be less food to go around.  

Others say it’s climate change.  Scientists say the whales are having trouble finding enough to eat as warming ocean conditions cause changes to their food supplies. 

What all experts agree on is that more research is needed.  

(sources:  CNN, San Franciso Chronicle, Live Science)

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