Another carcass of a gray whale was washed ashore on a beach in the Bay area over the weekend, making it the seventh dead whale discovered within the past five weeks.
According to reports, the 28-foot whale turned up in Sonoma County's Portuguese beach. While the cause of death is still being determined, park officials believe the animal has been dead for quite some time as the remains was already decomposing when it was found.
Damien Jones, a ranger from the California State Parks, said the whale carcass does not show any injuries caused by trauma such as being hit by a ship. A tissue sample was sent to the Marine Mammal Center to further investigate what could have killed the animal.
Jones said that they plan on leaving the carcass of the whale on the beach and allow the tide to take it back to the ocean.
"Generally we leave dead and sick animals where they are and let nature take its course," the park ranger said.
Northern California has been the site of other dead whale sightings in the past couple of months.
A killer whale was found dead near Fort Bragg in Mendocino County on April 18.
Two dead whales also washed up on a beach in Santa Cruz County on April 24, including a full-grown 40-foot gray whale. The other whale, a 23-foot yearling, showed injuries from a killer whale attack.
In Pacifica, locals discovered the remains of two whales in two separate occasions. The first one, 48-foot sperm whale, was found on April 14 and the other, a 42-foot female humpback, was found on May 4.
Earlier this week, a dead gray whale was found on the shore of Kelly Beach in Half Moon Bay. This particular whale was measured at around 40 feet by local park officials.
The month of May often marks the end of the northern migrations of gray whales. This is when the marine animals travel an estimated 5,000 miles from their mating and birthing lagoons in Mexico back to their natural feeding grounds in Alaska.
Many of these cetaceans make the journey with their newborn calves, but other younger whales prefer to stay in a more confined area for the entire year.
Photo: Jerry Kirkhart | Flickr