A whale mother and her calf on an epic trek
GLIDING THROUGH A FOREST of giant kelp, a gray whale cow and her calf grace the coast of Big Sur, California. After calves are born in Baja California, mothers lead them more than 5,000 miles north to Alaskan feeding grounds then head south again—one of the longest round-trip mammal migrations. “It’s humbling to watch these animals swim by,” says Douglas Croft, who sat on a cliff to make this image, an honorable mention in our 2019 photo contest. Nearly hunted to extinction, gray whales in this region have rebounded. “People caught on that it’s better to protect these beautiful creatures,” says Croft.
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.