SAN FRANCISCO BAY (KRON) — Two gray whales were found dead in the San Francisco Bay this week — and the cause of death for one of the mammals is believed to be severe malnutrition.
One of the whales, a 1-year-old, 23-foot female, had a significant lack of blubber and body fat, leading experts to believe the whale was malnutritioned. The mammal center says the whale had no signs of trauma or infectious disease.
Experts were unable to determine the cause of the death for the second whale, also a 1-year-old female.
The mammal center says scientists found the second whale’s carcass in a moderate state of decomposition. The whale also had a decent amount of blubber — prompting the undetermined cause of death.
Common causes of death for whales include blunt force trauma from ships, malnutrition and entanglements.
According to the Sausalito-based mammal center, experts have noticed migratory changes with gray whales entering the San Francisco Bay and that the number of whales entering the area is unusually high this year.
“The number of gray whales entering the San Francisco Bay this year has been abnormally high and they’re staying much longer than in years past,” Bill Keener, a whale expert at Golden Gate Cetacean Research, said in a statement. “There’s likely a few factors at play here including food source availability and a relatively sheltered habitat for juvenile whales that are in weaker body condition.”
Bay Area residents and visitors who spot a sick or injured marine mammals are asked to report it to the Marina Mammal Center by calling (415) 289-7325. Dogs and people should also stay at least 50 feet away from the sick or injured mammals.
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