A Blue View: The Record-Breaking Migration of Gray Whales

These barnacle-encrusted beauties are epic migrators.

Published November 17, 2015

You’d have to drive from California to New York and back—TWICE—to fully appreciate the distance traveled by the gray whale every year. This species takes the credit for longest migration route of any mammal, traveling 12,000 miles from the icy waters of the Arctic to the warm lagoons of Baja, Mexico, and back again. 

gray whale

Migrating pods are often spotted off the Pacific coast of North America from December through April. During peak migration, gray whales can be seen traveling in pods of 12 or more. 

Once the target of commercial harvesters, gray whales faced the threat of extinction in the early 20th century. Today, this species is protected under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and other international bans on commercial sale. 

Scientists estimate there are around 20,000 gray whales alive today.

Hear explorer, filmmaker and diver Céline Cousteau recount her experiences observing these majestic mammals: 


Previous Post

Featured Stories

Humpback whale Help Preserve the Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act has supported work that has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species it has protected. That work is now under threat.

Read the full story

Atlantic puffin chick born at the National Aquarium Meet Our Trio of Puffin Chicks!

We are excited to welcome three new Atlantic puffin chicks to our Sea Cliffs exhibit!

Read the full story

Related Stories

A Blue View: Shark Navigation is All in the Nose

Published June 28, 2016

A Blue View: Oyster Gardens

Published June 21, 2016