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Blue Whales Spotted In Droves Near Santa Cruz, Monterey

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File photo of a Blue Whale swimming.  (credit: Ishara S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a Blue Whale swimming. (credit: Ishara S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

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SANTA CRUZ (CBS/AP) — Blue whales, the world’s largest animal, are being seen in droves off the Northern California coast.

Biologists say they are being lured by an increase this year in their favorite food: the shrimp-like creatures known as krill.

In Monterey Bay, whale watching tour operators have reported seeing as many as 100 blue whales and the same number of humpback whales.

Marine biologist Nancy Black said that basking sharks, the world’s second-largest shark species, have also made an appearance.

Blue whale sightings are generally rare. The animals were nearly hunted to extinction a century ago and remain endangered. They can also stay under water for more than 20 minutes.

There are about 10,000 blue whales left worldwide.

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