Missing whales ...

J14 with her oldest daughter J37, 2015. Photo by Deborah Giles. Someone asked me once if I take it personally when a whale dies. Do I get sad? Is it like losing a pet or a friend, they asked. The answer to that is: it depends on the whale. We don’t like to pick favorites. It doesn’t seem very scientific or objective does it? We even have a saying around here about it. "Don’t pick a favorite or they will be doomed", something like that. What we mean is that, oddly, your favorite whales seem to be the most likely to die. Morbid? Definitely. Sad? Very, but also seemingly true. I remember my first favorites. It was during my first few years at the Center, maybe 2005, that I had a really

A Fin Whale in the Salish Sea

In late summer of 2015, a fin whale arrived in the inland waters near San Juan Island. At first, naturalists were confused by what looked like a minke whale on steroids. The mystery whale was soon confirmed to be a fin whale, which are very rare to the area. Fin whales, the second largest whale on the planet, are endangered. Fin whales can be found in all over the world, and like humpbacks, they are migratory. The individual was seen mainly around Smith Island and McArthur Bank, but was also spotted off Salmon Bank. It was a younger animal that looked to be sickly and thin. Its dorsal fin had a notch along the trailing edge and its skin was covered in cookie cutter shark scars. Eventually,

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