High number of gray whales counted off California

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Updated: 1/03/2014 4:03 pm

DANA POINT, Calif. (AP) — A December record has been set for the number of gray whales spotted along the California coast during the annual southern migration.

The Orange County Register reports Friday that the Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project counted 368 gray whales last month — breaking the December 2012 record of 182.

Most of the whales were swimming from the Bering Sea to Baja California in Mexico.

Every year more than 20,000 gray whales swim to Baja to mate and give birth. Observers say the whales seem to be having more calves in recent years.

Gray whales were hunted to near-extinction by the early 1900s but rebounded after they were declared endangered in 1973. They did so well that they were de-listed in 1994.

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