2017-09-05. Why eye-popping whale shows off the California coast are the new normal.

posted Sep 5, 2017, 8:28 PM by Alan Gould
By Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle. For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 1. Excerpt: Humpbacks have put on a show this summer inside and outside the Golden Gate — flopping around, waving their flukes and leaping out of the water — a bonanza for whale watchers in tour boats and on dry land that scientists say will remain a regular thing. The ballet of the behemoths, far from a one-time event, is the result of the humpbacks recovering from near-extinction thanks to an international whaling ban, intense conservation and protection of their breeding grounds. John Calambokidis, a senior research biologist for the nonprofit Cascadia Research Collective, said the giant cetaceans are swimming off the coast of California in numbers equal to their historic population and extending their range into places where they lived long ago. “Their numbers reached carrying capacity in the last five years, and that’s when sightings in unusual areas began to occur,” said Calambokidis, who has been studying humpback and blue whales for 35 years.... http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Why-eye-popping-whale-shows-off-the-California-12172489.php