At the same time hundreds of dead gray whales were washing up on beaches, their birthrate was plunging. Theories abound, but little hard data has been gathered to solve this environmental puzzle.
The Western Pacific gray whale, once thought extinct, clings to life in a remote Siberian sea. Biologists fear their research is serving as cover for massive oil drilling that could wipe out this lost tribe once and for all.
Fierce prey. Spiritual brother. Ecological bellwether. The majestic gray whale inspires awe, conflict, and troubling environmental questions from the icy seas of Russia to the warm lagoons of Baja.