Mystery continues as another gray whale washes up in Kodiak
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reporting another dead gray whale that washed up on the Kodiak coastline. NOAA Public Affairs Officer Julie Speegle said the whale was reported Tuesday evening, bringing the total of gray whale strandings in Alaska to three in the month of May.
On May 9, a gray whale was reported floating in Cook Inlet. That whale eventually washed to shore in Turnagain Arm near the Placer and Twentymile Rivers.
On May 14 another whale beached on the Copper River Delta near Cordova. Speegle said biologists were able to perform necropsies on the first two whales but the Kodiak whale is in a remote location that makes a necropsy difficult.
The deaths are part of a larger pattern of gray whale mortalities that have occurred during the annual spring migration from Mexico to Alaska. To date, at least 60 gray whale deaths have been reported, primarily in California but also in Oregon and Washington State.
In a release Speegle wrote:
"It is not unusual to have 2-3 gray whale strandings in Alaska by this time of the year. NOAA Fisheries is monitoring the situation closely because of the unusually high number of gray whale deaths along the West Coast of North America this year."
NOAA researchers said the gray whales studied so far looked malnourished, without enough reserves to sustain them on their way up north.
Gray whales aren't the only whales washing ashore in Alaska. On April 30, a humpback whale was discovered beached in Cook Inlet, just south of Girdwood. Biologists believe it may have been chasing a school of fish or smaller whales and became disoriented in the narrow, shallow channels of the inlet.
Speegle urged anyone who sees a dead or stranded marine mammal to call and report it to NOAA'S stranding hotline at 877-925-7773.
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