An­other gray whale washes up dead on Bay Area beach — the 10th since March

The Tribune (SLO) - - Local - BY GABBY FERREIRA

An­other gray whale has washed up dead in the Bay Area, mark­ing the 10th dead whale found in the area since March 10.

The whale was dis­cov­ered on Mon­day along a rocky shore­line in an in­ter­tidal area in Paci­fica, ac­cord­ing to Marine Mam­mal Cen­ter spokesman Gi­an­carlo Rulli. The whale’s age, sex and cause of death are un­known at this time, Rulli said.

Au­thor­i­ties haven’t yet been able to reach the whale be­cause of its lo­ca­tion.

“The in­com­ing storms and un­cer­tain tidal con­di­tions will play a role in the com­ing days of when the ex­pert team can gather more in­for­ma­tion,” Rulli said.

On av­er­age, The Marine Mam­mal Cen­ter, which is the pri­mary cetacean re­spon­der from cen­tral Men­do­cino County to the south­ern bor­der of San Ma­teo County, typ­i­cally re­sponds to from 5 to 10 dead whales per year, Rulli said.

“This year has been ab­nor­mally high in terms of re­sponses con­sid­er­ing it’s mid-May,” Rulli said in an email.

Ship strikes have caused the deaths of four of the whales that have been found since March, while an­other four died of mal­nu­tri­tion, ac­cord­ing to The Marine Mam­mal Cen­ter.

Of­fi­cials have not yet de­ter­mined a cause of death for a gray whale who was found on Point Reyes Na­tional Seashore on April 30.

Gray whales tend to pass through Cal­i­for­nia wa­ters in the spring­time, when they’re mak­ing their mi­gra­tion north to the Arc­tic where they spend the sum­mers. Au­thor­i­ties have seen in­creased num­bers of gray whales in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area dur­ing this spring’s mi­gra­tion, The Marine Mam­mal Cen­ter said in a news re­lease.

Bi­ol­o­gists have also no­ticed gray whales “in poor body con­di­tion,” ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. The last dead whale, which washed up on Ocean Beach on May 6, showed signs of mal­nu­tri­tion, in­clud­ing a thin­ner-than-usual blub­ber layer.

Of the 48 dead gray whales found along the West Coast in 2019, at least 31 of the deaths were re­ported along the Cal­i­for­nia coast, ac­cord­ing to the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle.

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