Subject: Gray Whale ID

Dr. Cathy Schaeff (
Wed, 25 Nov 1998 02:25:46 +0000

Hi Mary,

MARY MANN wrote:
> Dear Cathy,
> My name is Mary and I'm a student at Bellevue Comm. Coll. in Wash. State.
> I'm in a class on Puget Sound Ecology, my final project is a presentation
> on
> the Makah whaling. The one question I can't seem to find an answer for is :
> how do the Makah know which are local whales returning? As you may know the
> Makah have said that they would not kill a local returning whale. I've
> checked with some places around here, but everyone seems to know more about
> orca ID then grays. Any help you could give me would be greatly
> appreciated.
> Thank you for your time,
> Mary Mann

Gray whales can be individually identified but there is not a single,
unified catalog.  For example, Jim Darling maintains a catalog on the
animals he sees off Vancouver Island.  Little has been done on gray
whale philopatry so it isn't known whether taking 'local' whales would
affect the gene pool of the population in any way.  You could try the
address below, they may have more info.

  good luck!
Cathy Schaeff, Ph.D.
Biology Department,
American University,
4400 Mass. Ave. NW,
Washington DC 20016.

(202) 885-2175 (phone)
(202) 885-2182 (fax) (email)