Story at a glance

  • Biologists tracking the 2-year-old whale — dubbed “Wally” — believe the animal became lost and swam into the Atlantic ocean from the Arctic.
  • They say global warming has opened up northern routes.
  • The whale is swimming about 50 to 60 miles per day and is approaching the Spanish coast.

A gray whale has found itself thousands of miles from its natural habitat in the Pacific ocean and is currently making its way through the Mediterranean where it’s struggling to find food.

Biologists tracking the 2-year-old whale — dubbed “Wally” — believe the animal became lost and swam into the Atlantic ocean from the Arctic as global warming has opened up northern routes, according to Reuters. Wally likely swam through the Gibraltar Strait down the Moroccan coast and made his way to France. 


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The roughly 26-foot whale is losing weight due to the lack of invertebrates he typically feasts on in the depths of the Pacific ocean. 

“We are very worried about his future, as his fat, which is his fuel to travel, has gone down a lot. He is exhausted and just skin over bones. We have not seen him eat since we started tracking him,” Eric Hansen, head of the state biodiversity agency in southern France, told Reuters. 

The whale is swimming about 50 to 60 miles per day and is approaching the Spanish coast. Biologists say Wally was caught in a fishing net but managed to escape, and they’re concerned about heavy shipping in the Gibraltar Strait. 

“It is trying to enter harbors, as if to find a way out. Its strategy should work and we hope it can make its way back to Gibraltar in about a week,” Hansen told Reuters. 


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Published on May 07, 2021