San Francisco Bay humpback whale sightings alarm biologists

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities say humpback whales have been swimming into San Francisco Bay in unprecedented numbers over the past two weeks.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Thursday that as many as four humpbacks at a time have been spotted flapping their tails and breaching in bay waters, apparently feeding on anchovies and other schooling fish during incoming tides.

Mary Jane Schramm, the spokeswoman for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, says it’s normal for gray whales to wander into the bay, but humpbacks generally feed farther offshore and are not accustomed to navigating shallow water and narrow straits such as those in the San Francisco Bay, the newspaper reported.

She and other marine experts are concerned that the beasts could swamp boats while breaching, be hit by a ship or get spooked by people who paddle or sail out to see them.

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