Blue Whales Visit LA for Risky Meals

Shipping-area feeding grounds pose threat to endangered species
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 7, 2011 10:38 AM CDT
Blue whales have been visiting Los Angeles and Long Beach for food, but their feeding grounds are dangerous.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Visitors are thrilled by blue whales' frequent appearances at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—but for the whales, such visits could be deadly, experts warn. The biggest port complex in the country now boasts "the densest concentration" of whales "close to shore in all of California," says a scientist. But to find krill, their snack of choice, the whales must dive right through a major shipping lane, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dozens of whales have been killed or hurt by ships over the past decade along California's coast. To protect the blue whales arriving at the port, scientists photograph and tag the creatures in order to track their movements. Unfortunately, they've found that the whales spend more time at the surface during the night, increasing their risk of being hit by a vessel. Now, ocean carriers are supporting new shipping routes to protect the animals, and conservationists are seeking a marine sanctuary speed limit.

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