Officials at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) reported that the bodies of at least nine dead fin whales were spotted floating in the water near Kodiak Island.

Marine experts from the UAF have documented the sightings of these sea creatures beginning in the middle of May and had continued for around two more weeks.

Tissue samples were collected from two whale carcasses that were washed ashore for further analysis.

Deborah Mercy, spokesperson for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said that the results of the tests are pending.

Mercy said that specialists on marine mammals believe that since fin whales often feed together, the sea creatures might have accidentally consumed a toxic object that led to their death.

According to Kate Wynne, a professor at the UAF and one of the specialists studying marine mammals, it is rare to see even a single fin whale carcass every two years.

In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had contacted Wynne regarding dead whales that were photographed by crew members aboard an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry.

Two weeks later, more reports of dead whale sightings were made by fishermen, pilots and boaters in the area.

Wynne, together with experts from the NOAA, examined the reports and identified that around nine fin whales have already died in a relatively small section of the sea. The dead sea creatures appear to be drifting along both sides of Kodiak Island.

"It is really perplexing for a number of reasons," Wynne explained.

"They appear to have all died around the same time. And the strange thing is they are all one species, with the exception of one dead humpback whale found in a different location."

Wynne said that they are now trying to determine why the phenomenon only affects fin whales and not their prey.

Fin whales are an endangered species of whales that can grow up to 70 feet in length. The mammals are known to feed on krill, copepods and small fish through the help of baleen found in its mouth.

Local conservation groups have urged the public to report sightings of dead animals in the area. They also asked the people to photograph anything unusual on the carcasses to help the groups find out whether they are connected to the dead whales or not.

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