1 / 13

The Gray Whale ( Eschrichtius robustus )

The Gray Whale ( Eschrichtius robustus ) . Facts of Life. How big are they?. An adult gray whale can grow to 14.6 m in length – that’s longer than a city bus. Females are slightly bigger. Both males and females weigh up to 30,000 kg. What do they eat?.

Download Presentation

The Gray Whale ( Eschrichtius robustus )

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. The Gray Whale(Eschrichtius robustus) Facts of Life

  2. How big are they? • An adult gray whale can grow to 14.6 m in length – that’s longer than a city bus. Females are slightly bigger. Both males and females weigh up to 30,000 kg.

  3. What do they eat? • Large quantities of tiny animals. Scientists believe an adult gray whale consumes about 1,100 kg of food per day. The main component of their diet is small, shrimp-like animals called amphipods that live on muddy ocean floors.

  4. Do they migrate? • Gray Whales have the longest migration route of any mammal. Each year they cover more than 9,000 km traveling between their summer feeding areas and their winter breeding lagoons.

  5. Warm Winters • Gray whales spend winters, from January to March, in the warm waters of Baja California, Mexico, where pregnant females give birth. By late February, they start swimming northward.

  6. Summer gorging • During summer months, gray whales feed in the Bering Sea, the Chukchi Sea, the western Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Here, they gorge themselves on massive quantities of food! • Gray whales rely almost entirely on their fat reserves as an energy source during their winters and migrations.

  7. Back to Warm Winters • Gray Whales build up their blubber and other fat reserves by feasting through the summer months, gaining 16 to 30 percent of their body weight. In October, as the northern winter begins, pregnant females lead the procession of migrating gray whales returning to the warmer waters of Baja California.

  8. Where can we see whales? • People can in the Northwest Pacific coasts along the migratory route can catch a glimpse of migrating gray whales heading up to their summer grounds each spring. Since the whales often travel close to the shoreline, many visitors can spot the whales from the beaches or light houses!

  9. Can we see the whales closer? • Whale watching companies along the migratory route use small boats to bring people to see the whales. Guidelines help ensure that these boats do not interrupt or disturb the whales.

  10. Were gray whales ever hunted? • Prior to the seventeenth century, whales were harpooned from small boats. The first people to hunt whales commercially, including gray whales, were the Basques of northern Spain. European, Japanese, and the North American hunters soon followed. By the late 1800’s, improved techniques and equipment made whaling even more efficient. Relentlessly hunted for their meat, oil, and baleen, the number of gray whales plummeted.

  11. Has commercial gray whale hunting stopped? • Today, thanks to a moratorium started by the Mexican government to protect the breeding lagoons and followed by the International Whaling Commission, only the native people of Alaska and Siberia are legally permitted to catch gray whales. • The population is now 21,000 animals and considered healthy.

  12. Did you know? • Gray whales are covered with skin parasites! • Gray whales are often seen breaching, leaping into the air and splashing back in to the water. • Gray whales have 130-180 baleen plates hanging from their upper jaw. • Researcher Jim Darling from Vancouver, Canada, was able to recognize individual gray whales by comparing the variations of their mottled color patterns. • Early whalers nicknamed gray whales “devil fish” because of their defensive behavior in calving lagoons

  13. Thanks for your attention • Have fun learning more about the magnificent Gray Whale!

More Related