Every year, gray whales migrate north along the Western United States coast, coming up from the waters of Central America to make their 10,000 mile journey to the rich feeding grounds of Alaska. This year is a particularly special one for the small calf and cow families. The gray whale count is the largest that it has been in more than 15 years thanks to an exceptional birth rate. The numbers of gray whales estimated to be migrating this year are 20,000.
The birth rate has been record-setting and nearly 1200 calves have been counted so far. The numbers spotted last year were only about 600 and the year before saw only 200 calves in the entire migration. Since the early 1900s, gray whales have been endangered, but these new counts suggest that these mammals are making a striking comeback.