A gray whale carcass first seen floating near the Carquinez Bridge Tuesday morning has washed up along the shoreline of the San Pablo Bay in the vicinity of Rodeo, Marine Mammal Center officials said Wednesday.
The age, sex and length of the whale are not yet known, but marine scientists are preparing to examine the remains.
Chief Research Pathologist Padraig Duignan said in a statement:
“The findings of these investigations are incredibly valuable as it is shared with policy-makers to help find long-term environmental solutions to try and help prevent these incidents in the future.”
Duignan called the find concerning, pointing out that this is the third such gray whale carcass discovered in the Bay so far this year. Gray whales are a bellwether of ocean health, according to the Marin Headlands-based center.
Two were discovered last month. An examination of the first one found no indication of trauma, injury or disease, but it had a severe lack of blubber and an empty stomach, leading scientists to conclude that it died of severe malnutrition.
Center officials were unable to conduct a necropsy, or animal autopsy, on the second whale, but they collected tissue samples for further study.
Ship strikes and the blunt force trauma they inflict are thought to be the leading cause of whale death.