A review of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) on their wintering grounds in Mexican waters

  • Urbán R. J
  • Rojas-Bracho L
  • Pérez-Cortés H
 et al. 
  • 49

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Abstract

The Eastern North Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is one population of large cetacean that has recovered from depletion resulting from commercial harvest in the mid- to late-1800s. It is believed that this population may be approaching, or possibly exceeding its carrying capacity as suggested by recent increases in mortality of all age and sex classes. Research on the breeding biology and phenology of gray whales that spend the winter in the coastal waters and lagoons of Baja California, Mexico has been conducted for many years. These studies contribute valuable information on the reproductive biology of this species, and the importance of their coastal lagoon habitats to their reproductive success. This paper reviews and summarises historical exploitation, conservation measures, the findings of research conducted on gray whales in their winter breeding range, potential natural and anthropogenic threats to this population, and makes recommendations for future research and monitoring. This review concentrates on the findings of research conducted since the mid-1970s.

Author-supplied keywords

  • MD
  • baja california
  • birth rate
  • conservation
  • disturbance
  • exploitation
  • genetics
  • gray whale
  • habitat
  • mortality
  • north pacific

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Authors

  • Jorge Urbán R.

  • L Rojas-Bracho

  • H Pérez-Cortés

  • A Gómez-Gallardo U

  • S L Swartz

  • S Ludwig

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