Free presentations on gray whales offered this week

The public is invited to two free presentations by Sue Arnold, founder of the Gray Whale Coalition.

Arnold will be at the Children of the Land Center in Kapa‘a on Thursday starting at 7 p.m., and at the Princeville Clubhouse at the Prince Albert Park on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

The Eastern Pacific Gray Whale is the most ancient baleen whale alive in the world today, migrating from its feeding grounds in the Arctic to the warm waters near Mexico and the Lagunas.

During its migratory journey of 8,500 to 11,000 miles, the whales pass one of the most heavily industrialized coastlines, exposing the population to marine pollution, vessel traffic, industrial noise and activities.

In 1970, the federal government listed the whales under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act as “Endangered” when the estimated population was about 12,000.

The Eastern Pacific Gray Whale was taken off the list in 1994 when the population reached an estimated 23,000 whales.

But in 1999 and 2000, the gray whale population crashed, and varying estimates have about a third of the population dying as a result of starvation.

Since then, the gray whales have not recovered and their numbers continue to drop with the U.S. government estimating the current population in 2006 and 2007 numbering about 18,000 whales.

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