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Meet "Patch"
"Patch" (Cascadia Research ID# 49) is one of the regular returning gray whales in Puget Sound. Patch was first seen in 1991—and every year since! Patch is a favorite of many local whale watchers. They easily know him by the large white patch far back (toward his flukes) on his right side, and white patches on the underside of his flukes. On April 11, 2010, Patch was attacked by a pod of transient killer whales. Good news came a day later when Patch appeared to be OK when he was spotted swimming with other gray whales. Why do you think scientists try to identify individual whales? For that—or any question—you have until noon EDT April 5 to Ask the Expert!

Image: Michael H. Smith