Same gray whale may be involved in boat-tipping, surfer incidents off Island, story and video
Source: Sandra McCulloch and Heather Thomson, Times Colonist; Alberni Valley Times
The same juvenile gray whale is believed to behind several recent incidents of close contact with humans, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans official said Monday.
On Wednesday, a surfer at Cox Bay near Tofino was startled when a gray whale sidled up to him while he was floating on his surfboard, awaiting a wave. Then on Thursday, a Port Alberni couple got a scare when a young gray jostled their boat as they fished in the Broken Island group, in the same general area.
Other reported incidents involving a young gray whale interacting with people are similar, said Paul Cottrell, DFO's marine mammal co-ordinator.
"There's an indication this may be the same juvenile whale that's had a few different encounters - and we're watching that. We want to make sure we don't have a whale that's becoming more and more habituated to humans," Cottrell said. "We've had a few encounters where people are trolling, or even stationary and fishing, and there are interactions."
Gray whales can be dangerous due to their size, Cottrell said. "When they are close like that, you always have to be careful."
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