The Marine Mammal Center confirmed a dead gray whale washed ashore at Ocean Beach in San Francisco early Monday.
Scientists at the Marine Mammal Center plan to perform a necropsy on Tuesday to determine the whale’s cause of death.
“The death of nine gray whales in the San Francisco Bay Area this year is a cause for serious concern and reinforces the need to continue to perform and share the results of these type of investigations with key decision-makers,” said Dr. Padraig Duignan, Chief Research Pathologist at marine mammal center.
Biologists have observed gray whales in poor body condition during their annual migration this year, possibly due to shifting food sources.
Increased numbers of gray whales have been sighted in the San Francisco Bay as the population continues their northerly migration this spring.
The Center has completed necropsies on eight gray whales this year. Three of the whales died due to ship strikes and four died of malnutrition, according to the center. The cause of death for the eighth whale has not yet been determined.
Blunt-force trauma from ship strikes, malnutrition and entanglements are the most common causes of death in whales, according to the Marine Mammal Center’s research team.
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