Gray Whale Spotted on Wrong Side of World

Due to the climate changes and the melting of the ice in the Northwest Passage especially during the years 2007-8, a corridor could have been created in the summer, enabling the whale to travel through it to the North Atlantic. In autumn, it may have started to migrate southward as it would do in the Pacific, maintaining the European continental shelf on the left, in a similar manner to the eastern Pacific migration. Instead of turning left to the Gulf of California it may have turned left into the Mediterranean Sea through Gibraltar Straits and all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean.

VIDEO: Divers rescue a trapped whale.

In other words, a summering gray whale north of Alaska, swimming eastward along the Alaska coast, may have been able to take advantage of ice-free conditions to continue swimming eastward, all the way through the Canadian Archipelago and west of Greenland, (or, perhaps more likely, westward, above Russia and Europe, via the Northeast Passage) until instinct instructed it to turn south and ultimately hang a left.

With the Northwest Passage predicted to open up with greater frequency in future years as a result of warming temperatures, says Clapham, "I doubt that this whale will be the last."

Unfortunately, said Scheinin, there are no funds to enable the wayward whale to be tagged and followed by satellite (although a biopsy dart to gather DNA and confirm its provenance may be possible). The lengthy journey appears to have exacted a toll, and its emaciated condition suggests that the possibility of it successfully undergoing a return voyage to the Pacific is, in Scheinin's words, "rather slim."

Whales of Tohora

For now at least, the whale is very far from home and very much alone.
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