The welcome return of an old friend


There was a time when Christine Gabriele wondered if she’d ever see one of her favorite creatures again.

That 42-year-old female humpback whale — known as whale #219 to Gabriele and other biologists at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve — had been missing from her favorite Icy Strait herring-fishing grounds in Alaska.

No one had seen the whale in two years.

Gabriele feared the worst. A heat wave from 2014 to 2016 that warmed the Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean had killed sea birds en masse. She and others also documented a nosedive in the Alaska population of humpback whales, likely because of warmer

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