Record Whale Migration in SoCal

Gray Whale (AP / Max Miller)
Gray Whale (AP / Max Miller)

According to the ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, which for 31 years has monitored the number of whales passing by the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a record number of whales are migrating south past Southern California from the Arctic this year, reports Pete Thomas Outdoors.

The project counted 504 whales heading south, more than any year heretofore. Those 504 whales only included whales apparent to the naked eye, but that number surpasses the number of whales counted for an entire season in 11 of the 31 years the Project has been extant. The migration season extends to late May. Between November to January, an estimated 15,000 gray whales swim from the Arctic to Baja California.

The record number of migrating whales is attributed to clear skies and a calm ocean, as well as an early migrating period. Experts say that the factors for the early migration are a mystery.

The ACS-LA project counted 12 cow-calf pairs through Monday; the only similar period where more pairs were spotted was 1997-98, when El Nino dominated the local climate.