SAUSALITO (CBS SF) – Three more gray whales were found dead in the 10 days in San Francisco Bay – two of them this week – adding to a growing number of whale deaths in the Bay Area this year.
The three whale carcasses are in areas that the Marine Mammal Center says are inaccessible to scientists to determine the cause of death, either due to unsafe locations or due to changing tides despite tissue samples being taken.
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One of the whales that washed ashore at Wedge Cove in Tiburon on April 27 later drifted to Lime Point in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Marine Mammal Center said the whale was watched while it was alive. He has spent 47 days exploring San Francisco Bay and is underweight.
On Monday, a gray whale carcass was spotted in Oakland Harbor, apparently wedged between pier stakes. On Tuesday, a third gray whale washed ashore in Angel Island State Park.
There were nine whale deaths in the Bay Area in 2021, according to the Marine Mammal Center. From March to May 2019, scientists examined 13 dead gray whales in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2020, the center responded to five dead gray whales over the same period.
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Malnutrition, entanglement and trauma from ship attacks were the leading causes of whale deaths studied by the center’s research team in recent years.
It is believed that scientists are unlikely to be able to determine a cause of death for the last three whales dead.
The Marine Mammal Center said researchers observed increased numbers of gray whales in San Francisco Bay this spring as the population continues their northern migration into cool, food-rich Arctic waters.
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Boaters and people on the water were asked to keep a safe distance from whales and to report sightings to the center’s hotline at 415-289-SEAL (7325). All marine mammals are protected nationwide and the public should not approach a live or dead whale.