Changing whale behaviour: is climate change helping?


Photo by Mike Baird |

As ice is melting in the North and the climate is changing, whale behaviour is changing as well.

A gray whale mother and her newborn calf have been surprisingly spotted in the waters near San Francisco, California. It’s shocking that the calf was spotted at the newborn length of 15 feet, suggest that it was born while the mother is migrating. Gray whales usually mate in the warm waters near Baja California Bay, Mexico and migrate to the north. After, they travel back to Mexico in the next winter and give birth.

So why were these gray whales spotted here? The answer isn’t so clear. Scientists predicted that it might take longer time for whales to find food as ice sheets are retreat northward during climactic shifts. Some gray whales are feeding from where they have usually hunted in the polar regions, as noted from James Harvey of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

Interestingly, gray whales seem to be re-following their traditional migration routes that were used when they were hunted by whalers. They have learned not to follow the coastlines and instead, they have been moving around the Channel Islands in the Southern California. It’s possible that this gray whale mother was found near San Francisco in order to protect her calf from human predation!

It may be difficult to imagine that the global warming is actually not harming the animals or changing how the planet works. Sometimes something unexpected to be good may actually help the affected subjects to be positively or neutrally intertwined.