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Gray whale in Tacoma: Hungry, sick or friendly?

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on Jan. 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm with No Comments »
January 15, 2013 5:22 pm
KIRO-TV photo
KIRO-TV photo


A gray whale that seems to be making the rounds of Puget Sound visited Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway this afternoon.

It could be the same one that surprised a group of squidders off Les Davis Pier Dec. 28, according to whale education group Orca Network.

Gray whales are usually well on their way to their breeding grounds off the Baja Peninsula this time of year, according to the organization.

“It’s a very unusual situation,” co-founder Susan Berta said. “To me, that signals that it’s either very hungry and sick or just a curious juvenile. It’s possible it’s just a friendly one that’s checking people out.”

Looking at the KIRO-TV photo posted above, Berta said she could confirm that the whale is a gray.

The group has gotten about 10 reports of possible gray whale sightings since since Dec. 23, including one up the Puyallup River south of the Clark’s Creek Bridge Jan. 4.

Every now and then a gray whale gets lost or stranded in Puget Sound, where the animals generally struggle to find food, according to Orca Network.

But if Tacoma’s visitor is the same one seen elsewhere around Puget Sound, squid may be sustaining it for now, at least.

Another group of squid catchers, in Edmonds, had a run-in with a gray whale Sunday, Berta said.

Peter Haley/Staff photographer
Peter Haley/Staff photographer
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