A dead whale was found on Pacifica State Beach Friday, the 12th whale to wash up in San Francisco Bay that year, according to The Marine Mammal Center.
Associated press file
A whale washed ashore on Pacifica State Beach on Friday was found, bringing the number of dead whales found in San Francisco Bay to 12 this year.
A dead gray whale was reported on Pacifica State Beach around 3 p.m. at Pacifica State Beach, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Tissue samples were collected on Saturday and the whale was confirmed to be a 47-foot adult male, Marine Mammal Center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli said, according to the publication. Because the animal was in “an advanced state of decomposition,” officials said they did not perform an autopsy.
Previously, according to KRON4, nine gray whales, one fin whale and one pygmy sperm whale had died in the Bay Area this year.
“Our team has stopped responding to this number of dead gray whales since 2019 when we performed an astounding 13 autopsies in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Dr. Pádraig Duignan, director of pathology at the Marine Mammal Center, reported the station.
A gray whale washed ashore in Oakland Harbor on May 3, and another was found in Angel State Park on May 4. According to a press release from the Marine Mammal Center, experts did not perform autopsies on any of the whales to determine the cause of death.
One gray whale washed up on May 11th on Poplar Beach and another on May 14th on Agate Beach. According to KRON4, the whale that washed ashore on Agate Beach died as a result of a ship strike.
The Marine Mammal Center’s research team found entanglements, ship attack trauma, and malnutrition were the leading causes of death for whales they studied.
“Nobody wants whales to die,” said Justin Viezbicke, California Stranding Network coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service. “Our partners, like the Marine Mammal Center, are helping us learn from the deceased whales to understand the factors influencing the remaining 20,000 gray whales that migrate north off the west coast.”
The number of gray whales migrating across the west coast has decreased by 24% since 2016, NOAA Fisheries reported in January.
Summer Lin is a McClatchy real-time news reporter. She graduated from Columbia University School of Journalism and was previously a news and policy writer for Bustle News.