Rare western Pacific gray whales



ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Researchers who tracked a rare western Pacific gray whale last winter from the Asian coast to North America are back in Russian waters.

Oregon State University says scientists coordinated by the International Whaling Commission have attached satellite tags to five more of the endangered whales, according to a news release.

The whales will be tracked to see where they spend winters and if any repeat the unexpected crossing to North America.

Whale experts estimate only about 130 western Pacific gray whales remain.

Western Pacific gray whales are genetically distinct from eastern Pacific gray whales. The eastern whales, which have recovered to number about 18,000 animals, breed off the coast of Mexico in winter. Most make annual migrations north to feed off Alaska’s coast.