SAN DIEGO (CBS) – The sighting of a gray whale off the coast of Israel has scientists concerned about what it could mean for climate change.

The whale was spotted on May 8, 2010, spotted off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea, according to San Diego’s CBS affiliate.

“We actually think it belongs to what’s known as the California population of gray whales and that it’s actually a stray,” said Dr. David Weller of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries.

Scientists believe the Mediterranean sighting may signal a change in migration for the species. Grey whales have not been spotted in the Atlantic Ocean since the 18th Century when they became extinct there for unknown reasons.

“We may see a reoccupation of the Atlantic by species that haven’t been there in quite some time,” Dr. Weller said.

Migration along North America’s West coast is common, as a large pod, numbering around 20,000 whales, has a yearly migration route between Alaska and Baja California. Scientists believe this whale could have traveled through the Northwest Passage when sea ice melted in 2007, allowing for it to navigate the seas to the shores of Israel.

“We are seeing a cascading effect of all of the ecology across the Arctic. And what the gray whale has shown us . . . is that animals are acting as indicators of climate change. They’re showing us what can now be done and what they’re capable of. The consequences are yet to be determined,” Dr. Weller said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (13)
  1. Dig it says:

    The climate has been changing since the beginning of time, we certainly don’t need a Gray Whale to remind us.

    1. Fred Parkinson says:

      And so when the climate changes enough that it no longer supports human life you will be Ok with that, but people with brains know that is stupid.

  2. What the? says:

    Why is a sighting of a Gray Whale from 2010 suddenly news today?

  3. Ehud says:

    To sway people away from the current events that are really going on in Palestine, by the dirty selfish oppressing Israel.government.

    1. David says:

      Ehud, you mean stopping all the Palestinian terrorists killing innocent people???

      1. MST says:

        No, he probably means the US government and Greece stopping a group of Americans from delivering letters to Gaza, and the Israeli government sabotaging a boat from Ireland. Or maybe he means the 67 kids made homeless in the West Bank Zone C in May alone due to housing demolitions. Although it’s supposedly part of the West Bank Palestinians are only allowed to build on 1% of the land in Zone C of the West Bank.
        I agree with the initial question, why is news of a signting more than a year ago suddenly news today!

    2. RealityCheck says:

      Ehud – maybe this whale is sympathetic to the palistinian cause. Just think how many explosives a whale could carry in a bomb vest or bomb belt. And it is from California, a known haven of all sorts of liberal, easily mislead creatures.

      1. Ken Bowerman says:

        It would be good for you to open your mind to new idea rather than be stuck with these venomous thoughts.
        A Californian

  4. Joseph McLaughlin says:

    The unstated concern of the Israelis: will these whales new to our seas eat all the Rugelach?

  5. G says:


    1. MST says:

      What religion ARE gray whales that they would be converting frin? And why would they have to go to Israel to convert? Maybe they were going to visit Egypt and got lost.

  6. Stephanie Wall says:

    We have been warned of this yet no one cares…..its upsetting to think that greed has become all…..I cleaned up the beach in santa cruz last week and was in near tears as it seemed to make no impact at all……people looked at me like I was a lunatic for wanting to keep the water clean!!!!