12th Dead Whale Washes Up on SF Bay Area Beach This Year

PACIFICA, Calif. (AP) – The carcass of a gray whale found on Pacifica State Beach on Friday was the 12th dead whale to strand on a beach in San Francisco Bay this year, authorities said.

Tissue samples taken on Saturday confirmed it was an adult male around 47 feet (14 meters), said Giancarlo Rulli, spokesperson for the Marine Mammal Center. He said that because the whale was in an advanced state of decomposition, scientists decided not to perform an autopsy to determine how it died.

Ten gray whales, a pygmy sperm whale and a fin whale have been reported dead on the shores of the San Francisco Bay since early 2021, according to the California Academy of Sciences. Necropsies revealed that two of them had died in a collision with a ship and two others were believed to have died as a result of a collision with a ship. Eight of the deaths were due to undetermined causes.

As of 2019, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been investigating what it calls an unusual mortality event due to a higher rate of emaciated or injured gray whales stranded on west coast beaches.


Malnutrition, entanglement and trauma from ship strikes have been the most common causes of whale mortality in the Bay Area in recent years, according to the Mammal Center.


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