Humpback whale swimming near Alameda has officials concerned

A humpback whale spotted swimming in Seaplane Lagoon in Alameda has attracted concern from wildlife officials, who fear it may be unhealthy.

Researchers with the Marine Mammal Center believe the whale is an adult female.

Research Associate Bill Keener said she appears under weight.

“Over the last three years we’ve gotten lots of humpbacks coming and feeding on anchovy out by the Golden Gate or Alcatraz, but then they tend to leave," said Keener.

"This one has been here for a week. And we know from taking photos of her, that it’s skinny. It’s lost a lot of its blubber layer, so it’s probably kind of weak and not doing very well.”

On Friday, NOAA scientists declared a wildlife emergency over the unusually high number of gray whale deaths this year.

Since January, 70 gray whale deaths have been reported on the west coast, including in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo.

Scientists are studying if the whale deaths are caused by human behavior or other factors.

Marine Mammal Center said the gray whale deaths and the humpback whale in Alameda's lagoon are not related.

“This is very different; very different species," said Keener.

"They have a different migration patterns, so whatever this whale is experiencing is probably not related to what’s going on with the gray whales.”

Researchers plan to leave the humpback whale in the lagoon, because trying to herd the animal will cause stress and if it's not strong enough the lagoon offers the safest waters.

The Marine Mammal Center says humpback whales breed in the water off of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and then migrate to the Pacific Northwest.

70 humpback whales have been tracked through the Bay Area, and surprisingly, the Alameda whale is one researchers have never seen before.