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Originally published Monday, February 7, 2011 at 8:55 PM

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Rare gray whale that summers off Russia makes way to Oregon

A type of whale that spends summers off Russia has made its way to the Oregon coast in a journey being tracked by scientists to better understand the highly endangered animals.

ANCHORAGE — A type of whale that spends summers off Russia has made its way to the Oregon coast in a journey being tracked by scientists to better understand the highly endangered animals.

Researchers attached a satellite tag to a 13-year-old, male western Pacific gray whale Oct. 4. The whale moved east across the Bering Sea and south through the Aleutian Islands into the Gulf of Alaska. On Jan. 27, it was about 400 miles off the coast of British Columbia.

On Monday, the whale was detected south of Lincoln City, Ore.

"That's about 15 miles north of my laboratory at the Hatfield Marine Science Center," said Bruce Mate, director of Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute, noting the irony of going to Russia to tag the whale only to have it show up near home.

Only 130 western Pacific gray whales remain. They are the second-most threatened large whales after North Pacific right whales.

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