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Boaters warned to watch out for newborn gray whales during late migration

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 22, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Each year around this time, we marvel as gray whales make their way from Alaska down to Baja, Mexico, to give birth.

However, this year's migration started late.

"This year, with the migration being so late, a lot of the moms aren't actually making it to the lagoon before they give birth. So we're seeing a lot of these pregnant females giving birth on the migration this year," said Captain Domenic Biagini, founder of Gone Whale Watching San Diego.

While the migration is late, Biagini says the whales look much healthier than last year, when many died.

"Likely these whales spent a little longer feeding this year to make up for what they didn't get last year, and with less sea ice than normal, they're able to actually go further north looking for food, which then also makes the migration longer," said Captain Dom.

Biagini says the calves aren't strong enough to dive, so he's already seen close calls with private boaters speeding by.

"The problem is a lot of these grays, especially the moms with babies, are intentionally trying to keep a low profile and people aren't realizing that they're there as they're flying through thee areas. So it's really crucial to be conscious of your speed and surroundings during gray whale season," said Biagini.

He says while the newborns are more vulnerable, the moms do a good job keeping a low-profile.

They should arrive at their destination in a week or two.