PACIFICA, Calif. (AP) – The body of a young female humpback whale has been discovered washed up on a Pacifica beach – the second whale to wash up on a beach in the area over the last three weeks, authorities said.
Sue Pemberton from the California Academy of Sciences said the beaching of the dead whales was a product of the currents and not anything to do with a problem in the waters off Pacifica.
"I don't see anything to it as far as something horrible going on in the ocean," she told KTVU Fox 2. "I just think there have been some strong offshore winds and currents that are bringing them to the beach."
Pemberton also said that the scarcity of food that has led to dozens of young sea lions and seals wandering onto beaches was not affecting the whales.
"They (the whales) are a lot farther out (in the ocean) than the sea lions and seals," she said. I don't think they are related."
Pemberton said the whale was very young and likely to have been recently weaned from its mother.
If the tides don't sweep the dead whale out to sea, marine biologists will examine the carcass for a cause of death.
"We want to rule out if it was a ship strike or an Orca (caused) death or natural death," she said.
In mid-April, a 50-foot sperm whale washed ashore not far from the location of the current dead whale. Biologists were unable to determine the cause of death for that whale.
Biologists found no broken bones in the first whale. There was some hemorrhaging in the muscles, but not enough to clearly indicate blunt force trauma.
The whale was emaciated, but had some squid beaks in its stomach, indicating it had been eating.