SAN FRANCISCO - A dead gray whale - the third so far this year - was found Wednesday on Angel Island State Park in San Francisco. Officials at the Marine Mammal Center said the whale's suspected cause of death appeared to be blunt-force trauma from a ship.
SkyFox flew overhead showing the large mammal had been injured.
A team of 11 scientists from Marine Mammal Center and the California Academy of Sciences performed a necropsy on the 44-foot adult female gray whale on Wednesday.
Significant bruising and hemorrhaging to the whale's blubber an muscle tissue were found on the left side of the animal. The team also noted skull fractures.
"While this is a sad outcome, the information gathered from this carcass is shared directly with our partners and partner agencies, helping inform policy decisions that can protect habitat areas, migration routes and food sources for marine mammals," said Dr. Padraig Duignan, chief research pathologist at The Marine Mammal Center.
Tissue samples were taken and the whale's hip bones will be archived.
In April, a dead gray whale was found on Angel Island; it had been killed by an orca and then got entangled in fishers' nets, the center reported. And in March, a dead gray whale was also found on the same beach; in this case, the whale died of malnutrition.
Rulli said that this is migration season. Gray whales are swimming north from Baja, California to Alaska, passing Angel Island on the way.