By Muhammad Atef | April 9, 2021

Three dead gray whales found in a week in San Francisco Bay

In this March 3, 2015 photo, a gray whale surfaces in the Pacific Ocean waters. Three gray whales have been found dead in San Francisco Bay in the past week, experts say, and it’s not clear what killed them.

In this March 3, 2015 photo, a gray whale surfaces in the Pacific Ocean waters. Three gray whales have been found dead in San Francisco Bay in the past week, experts say, and it’s not clear what killed them.

Associated Press file

Three dead gray whales have been found in San Francisco Bay in the past week, concerning experts who have not determined their causes of death.

“These creatures, they are such magnificent creatures and to see them dead like this is really heartbreaking,” Eric Jones of Sea Valor told KTVU. His organization helped tow one of the dead whales to Angel Island for examination.

A few gray whales are normally found dead in or near the bay each year as the creatures migrate along the California coast, experts say.

“This year we’ve had these two animals and there was another one on the weekend so three animals in the San Francisco area in a very short space of time so we are concerned,” Dr. Pádraig Duignan of the Marine Mammal Center told KTVU.

A 41-foot adult female gray whale washed up at Crissy Field on March 31, the Marine Mammal Center reported. A necropsy, or animal autopsy, failed to determine the cause of death.

A juvenile female gray whale was found floating dead in the bay over the weekend, and another dead gray whale was found at Moss Beach, KRON reported.

Malnutrition or accidents involving ship collisions or fishing nets are often found to be causes of death for gray whales, the Marine Mammal Center said.

But the whale found at Crissy Field showed no signs of illness or trauma, experts said.

California gray whales, which can reach 39 feet long and weigh 60,000 pounds, are on their yearly 11,000-mile trek north from Mexico to Alaska.

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.





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