San Francisco, CA

Video: Dead whales on the San Francisco Bay

Amancay Tapia
Patrick Fischer/Unsplash

Last February, an adult female whale was found dead at North Salmon Creek Beach. By the end of April, the number of dead gray whales had increased to six. Three of them, died of suspected ship strike and the others, had an undetermined cause of dead. Here is a video I made about the incidents.

The Marine Mammal Center, a leader in marine mammal health, science and conservation, and the largest marine mammal hospital in the world confirmed that in 2019, from March through May, scientists investigated 13 dead gray whales in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2020, the Center responded to five dead gray whales in the same time period.

As a result of dead whales washing up on Bay Area beaches,the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for the species and there is an ongoing investigation where the Marine Mammal Center is closely working with NOAA’S gray whale UME team.

Experts have confirmed that malnutrition, entanglement and trauma from ship strikes have been the most common causes of death in whales studied by the Center’s research team in recent years.

Marine mammals are federally protected, and members of the public must not approach any whale, whether alive or dead.

Experts say it is very important for boaters and people on the water to keep a safe distance from whales and report sightings to the Center’s hotline at 415-289-SEAL(7325).

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