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Sunburned whales: Troubling environment news of the week

By Melissa Bell
whales
This undated photo released Wednesday by the Zoological Society of London shows the blistered skin of a blue whale. (Diane Gendron/AP)

Whales off the coast of California seem to be subject to the same dangers as tourists visiting the beaches: sunburn. Researchers at the Institute of Zoology in London have been observing whales for signs of sun damage, and have noticed a precipitous rise: The numbers affected rose by 56 percent between 2007 and 2009, which they said has "worrying" implications for their health.

"Whales need to come to the surface to breathe, to socialise and to feed their young, meaning that they are frequently exposed to the sun," Laura Martinez of the Institute of Zoology told the Telegraph.

The blue whale seems to be the most affected by the skin damage. Scientists fear that the thinning ozone layer is to blame.

By Melissa Bell  | November 11, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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