Living on the north coast of Oregon we are blessed by the biyearly passage of these marvelous creatures, the California Gray Whale. It seems most appropriate to comment on the Russian arm of the World Wildlife Federation and their attempt to halt the construction of a new oil platform in the Western Pacific(off the Sakhelin Islands) by a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. The threat is real as this would be located in feeding grounds of this threatened species. Feeding during this phase of their yearly cycle is essential because it is the only time during the year that massing occurs, the rest of the year this stored energy is utilized for their food needs.
Along our shore over 20,000 make the annual migration from Alaskan waters to the Gulf of California where the young are born. The reason this new intrusion is so potentially damaging is the remaining number of this particular species. Based on the information provided the breading female population is only 30 animals! The total number of whales is only 130, young, old breeding non-breeding, you name it.
If you counter and say, let’s just send a few thousand of our Eastern Pacific Grays over to the Western Pacific, have them interbreed and increase that population, great but as far is known the two species do not interbreed.