Each fall, Pacific Ocean humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds near Alaska and Russia to the warm waters further south. In these places, the whales spend their winters finding mates, breeding, and giving birth to and rearing calves conceived the previous winter. Or, they normally do. This past winter, the whales, by and large, failed to show up.
Whale researchers from around the Pacific are reporting that far fewer whales showed up in their usual wintering grounds than normal. Those that did make it arrived later, departed earlier, and appeared to be far less active than usual, spending less time at the surface and making longer dives.
Read the rest of my story for Hakai here.