3 more dead gray whales found in Southeast, NOAA says
Three more dead gray whales have been found in Southeast Alaska, bringing the total dead whale count to 10 this season, according to a release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA says a fisherman spotted one of the whales near Wrangell on Monday and a veterinarian is performing a necropsy Thursday.
The other two whales were spotted on the outer coast of Kruzof Island, west of Sitka and near Point Davis and Annette Island, south of Ketchikan. If NOAA can secure the whale near Ketchikan, they will perform a necropsy.
In May, NOAA officially declared gray whale strandings as an unusual mortality event along the West Coast, from Mexico up through Alaska. As of June 20, there have been 81 gray whale mortalities in the United States, with a total of 167 dead gray whales including dead whales found in Mexico and Canada.
NOAA Fisheries says about 27,000 gray whales will migrate to Alaska this season and that many more gray whale deaths are likely.
Scientists are still investigating the spike in gray whale deaths, but they have observed that many of the whales found in Alaska were malnourished and could have died from starvation.
Earlier this month, NOAA announced that at least 60 dead seals had been reported on the coast of the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Hair loss has been reported on some of the ice seals, but its not clear if this is due to decomposition or abnormal molting.
If you see a whale or marine mammal stranded or in distress, you should call NOAA's Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Hotlines at 877-925-7773.
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