Dead whale washes ashore in Pacifica

PACIFICA (KRON) — A beached whale was discovered in Pacifica Tuesday morning, marking the second whale to wash ashore since April 14th.

According to a witness, the whale is a half mile from the beach parking lot.

The whale has been identified by the Marine Mammal Center as a young female humpback who’s been dead an estimated 4 or 5 days.  A necropsy will be performed tomorrow during low-tide to get a better idea of how this whale died.

A sperm whale washed ashore mid-April not far from the location of Tuesday’s whale.

Biologists were unable to determine the cause of death for the sperm whale found in April, Marine Mammal Center officials said.

The 48-foot male whale was discovered at Mori Point at the south end of Sharp Park State Beach in Pacifica in April, and was already dead by the time biologists from the center and the California Academy of Sciences arrived, Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr said today.

Despite speculation that the animal might have been killed by a ship strike, biologists found no broken bones. There was some hemorrhaging in the muscles, but not enough to clearly indicate blunt force trauma.

Although the whale was emaciated, it had squid beaks in its stomach, which indicates that it had been eating.

Biologists could not determine the whale’s exact age, although it is thought to be an adult.

Researchers collected the teeth and tissue samples for further testing and research. The tissue samples were not fresh enough to determine the cause of death, officials said.

Such findings are fairly rare. Only 17 stranded sperm whales have been found in the 40-year history of the Marine Mammal Center, Sherr said.

Pockets of warm water in the Pacific ocean have caused unusual migratory journeys for whales, with an influx of whale activity in the Bay area.

The cause of death and type of whale that washed ashore today is unknown at this time.

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