12 May 2010, JellyBean @ 4:21 pm

A gray whale has appeared off the coast of Israel, shocking conservationists.

Gray whales are thought to be extinct across the Atlantic Ocean, so the appearance of an individual within the Mediterranean Sea is a major surprise.

The whale may have inadvertently travelled a huge distance from its natural habitat thousands of kilometres away in the Pacific Ocean.

However, it raises the possibility that gray whales have returned to former haunts in the western hemisphere.

Once, three major populations of gray (also spelt grey) whale existed: in the western and eastern North Pacific Ocean, and in the North Atlantic.

However, the North Atlantic population of gray whale became extinct sometime in the 17th or 18th Century, for reasons that are not clear.

No sightings of the species had been made in the Atlantic Ocean since.

Read more:

BBC News

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