SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A dead whale washed ashore in Pacifica on Tuesday, bringing the total this year to 10 in the San Francisco Bay Area -- a cause for serious concern, scientists said.
The whale was found on a largely inaccessible spot on Linda Mar beach, but SkyFox flew overhead before noon, showing the massive mammal on its side near the rocky shoreline. Marine Mammal Center scientists cannot study it until it moves somewhere more accessible, a center spokesman said.
Last week, another dead whale, an adult female, was found in San Francisco at Ocean Beach. A necropsy showed that it had been malnourished and then killed by a ship strike, scientists at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif. said.
After that whale's death, Dr. Padraig Duignan, chief research pathologist at thecenter, said that biologists have observed gray whales in "poor body conditions" during their annual migration in 2019, most often because of warming oceanic conditions, which have contributed to shifting food sources.
What's also happening this year is that there are more gray whales in the San Francisco Bay than usual, he said, as the population continues their northerly migration this spring. Why that is still hasn't been determined.