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Humpback, fin whales appear in Arctic Ocean
By Jason Heller, November 7, 2007 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Ktuu.com
A federal agency that regulates offshore oil drilling says Alaska's northern coast had unusual visitors this summer -- endangered humpback whales. Humpback whales off Alaska generally are not seen north of the Bering Strait, the upper limit of the North Pacific Ocean.But observers connected to oil exploration activity spotted humpbacks east of Barrow in the Beaufort Sea.Robin Cacy (KAY'-see) of the federal Minerals Management Service says humpback whales were seen in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast last year.She also says endangered fin whales were detected this summer by acoustic monitoring north of the Bering Strait in the Chukchi Sea.Environmental groups say the presence of humpbacks hundreds of miles north of their usual habitat likely is another sign of the effects of global warming and the shifting Arctic ecosystem.They are calling for more study of the endangered animals' habits before industrial activity is allowed to expand off Alaska's northern shores.The Mineral Management Service says there will be no immediate reaction to the sightings.Spokesman Gary Strasburg says a sighting of an endangered species in a new area would NOT mean an immediate change in how the agency regulates petroleum exploration.




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