The Corner

Wait, This Is Bad News?

Via Drudge, I read this story about a grey whale discovered near Israel. This is big news, apparently, because grey whales haven’t been seen in the Atlantic (or, by extension, the Mediterranean) since the 18th century. The story fails to mention that the Atlantic grey whale became extinct because of whaling. But it does go on at length about how the whale made it through the melted ice of the Arctic:

“What has amazed the entire marine mammal research community is there haven’t been any grey whales in the Atlantic since the 18th century,” he said. Scheinin said the creature, a mature whale measuring some 12 metres (39 feet) and weighing around 20 tonnes, probably reached the Atlantic through the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route that connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is normally covered with ice.

“Here you have an animal that is supposed to live in the Pacific and because the ice in the Arctic is melting, it managed to get through this corridor near the Bering Strait,” Scheinin told AFP.

And, so the money question:

“The question now is: are we going to see the re-colonisation of the Atlantic?” he said. “This is very important ecologically because of the change of habitat. It emphasises the climate change that we are going through.”

My reaction: Hey, this could be frickin’ awesome. The grey whale may finally be staging a comeback. Thank goodness the whale could get through. I hope more follow suit.

The proper reaction: Hmm. This is a troubling indication of climate change.

Update: From a reader:

….or maybe they weren’t extinct after all? Or, maybe the Enterprise made another trip?

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