Endangered Blue Whale Dies After Colliding With A Ship: Carcass Washes Ashore On A Northern California Beach
A 79-foot blue whale carcass washed ashore at a Northern California beach and was found on Friday, May 26. According to experts, the cause of death is collision with an incoming ship.
The female blue whale's carcass was found off Agate Beach in Bolinas, which is situated 13 miles north of San Francisco. On careful scrutiny and observation, experts deduced that the whale suffered significant blunt-force trauma on its left side. Experts and scientists at the California Academy of Sciences and the Marine Mammal Center collected the dead blue whale's blood and tissue samples.
Dead Blue Whale Washes Ashore On Californian Beach
Since the discovery of the endangered species' carcass, scientists from the marine sanctuaries have been patrolling the beaches of Marin and San Francisco's coastline to keep a look out for "hot spots" of humpback and blue whales. They are also alerting coast guards and ships of the whales' location to reduce the chances of another ship strike-related death.
Out of curiosity, several people gathered on Agate Beach to see the blue whale carcass. Some even felt "emotional" at the sight of the dead creature. Despite the overpowering bad odor that the rotting carcass emanated, scientist are nevertheless curious about what had transpired during the blue whale's final moments.
Blue Whale Body Intact
After a through physical examination, the experts confirmed that the blue whale that washed ashore suffered from 10 fractured vertebrae and 10 broken ribs. The dead blue whale's body is primarily intact and researchers reveal that finding a carcass in this state is rare. The carcass will enable them to gather more data on the marine mammals.
"We rarely have the opportunity to examine blue whales due to their endangered status," Barbie Halaska, a research assistant at the Marine Mammal Center, shared.
The female blue whale washing ashore is not an isolated accident. In October 2016, people spotted a 65-foot male blue whale at the Thornton State Beach in Daly City. Similar to the female blue whale, the male blue whale also suffered major blunt force trauma. The male blue whale also suffered intensive bruising along the spinal cord area and had a fractured skull.
This is the seventh time in the last 40 years that a beached blue whale has been washed ashore along the Northern and Central Californian coast.
The blue whale species have been given the endangered title as they are constantly threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and other environmental factors. Apart from these, fishing gears entanglement and collision against ships are also responsible for whale deaths.
The female blue whale's carcass is going to be left to decompose naturally on the beach, where birds can eat the same. The carcass cannot be towed out to the sea as a reef along the beach makes this difficult.