Two gray whales found dead near Kodiak, NOAA confirms
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed Friday that a total of seven gray whales have shown up dead in Alaska, with two more found near Kodiak.
NOAA Fisheries says they received a report on June 1 of a gray whale floating in Portage Bay off of Kodiak Island. Biologists found the whale through an aerial survey on June 6. A follow-up investigation found that the whale was beached before it floated into the bay.
Kate Savage, PhD, says the whale was about 30 feet long and there was evidence it had been preyed on by a killer whale.
During the aerial survey, NOAA says Savage also located another dead gray whale floating on the north side of Aiaktalik Island, which is on the east coast of Kodiak Island.
Both whales showed signs of advanced decomposition.
In May, NOAA officially declared gray whale strandings as an unusual mortality event. According to NOAA, nearly 150 dead gray whales were found along the West Coast. Of those found stranded, 70 were recorded across Alaska, Washington and Oregon.
NOAA Fisheries says about 27,000 gray whales will migrate to Alaska this season and that many more gray whale deaths are likely.
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