Whales Aren’t Keen on Being Flayed Alive By Gulls

The southern right whale is a huge fortress of animal—50 feet and 60 tons of muscle and blubber. At its size, this giant should have nothing to fear from ocean predators, except possibly for killer whales. But in the waters around Argentina, southern rights have been so badly tormented by an unusual threat that they have been forced to take stealthy precautions.

Their nemesis is the kelp gull.

Kelp gulls, like most of their kind, are opportunists. They’ll pluck fish from the sea, and scraps from landfill sites. And those near Peninsula Valdes in Argentina have started stripping flesh from the backs of whales.

Thousands of southern rights gather ...

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