Ore. scientist helps Russian-US team track whale

Posted: Thursday, December 02, 2010

NEWPORT, Ore. - An Oregon scientist is helping a Russian-U.S. research team track an endangered western gray whale by satellite to learn more about migration routes and breeding grounds.

Bruce Mate is director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, and was a pioneer in the use of satellites to track whales beginning in the late 1970s.

Mate is helping the team track a western gray whale off the coast of Russia's Sakhalin Island.

Researchers say there are only about 130 western gray whales left, and only about 30 to 35 of them are mature, reproductively active females.

The International Whaling Commission says it is the first time an individual whale from a critically endangered species has been tagged and tracked using telemetry.

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