Formerly Extinct Whale in the Atlantic Seen Near New England

Formerly Extinct Whale in the Atlantic Seen Near New England
Image copyright: Nick Ut/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • During an aerial survey last Friday about 30 miles (48 km) off the coast of Nantucket, Mass., researchers from the New England Aquarium spotted a gray whale — a species that was hunted to extinction in the Atlantic Ocean in the 1700s.

  • Gray whales are typically found in the North Pacific. However, there have been five sightings of the species in the Atlantic over the past 15 years, including one off the coast of Florida last year — reportedly the same one found off Nantucket.

The Spin

Narrative A

Finding this whale on the wrong coast is a bad sign of climate change's effects. In addition to the unnatural passage through the Arctic, melting also decreases the gray whales' food supply. At this rate, even more whales will be found washed up on both coasts and their population will continue its rapid descent. This is a canary in the climate coal mine.

Narrative B

Climate change is having a negative impact on the whales, but so are offshore wind farms, which are being pitched by the wind energy industry as a flawed cure for the Earth's warming. But the high-decibel sonar and pile-driving turbines of wind farms could be killing the very animals they claim to be saving. Climate alarmism can harm whales too.

Metaculus Prediction

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