Photo: Clara Field / Marine Mammal Center
A gray whale washed ashore Wednesday near Rodeo, along the San Pablo Bay shoreline not far from the Carquinez Bridge.
The whale is the third in three weeks to wash up on Bay Area shores.
“The death of a third gray whale in San Francisco Bay this year is a cause for serious concern as it speaks to the broader challenges this species continues to face in its ocean home,” Dr. Padraig Duignan, chief research pathologist at the Marine Mammal Center, said in a statement.
More whales have been spotted hanging out in the San Francisco Bay since early March, and scientists fear it’s a sign of trouble with the species. They suspect it’s because the whales are starving.
Because they’re very hungry, they aren’t able to complete the full northern migration, from Baja California to Alaska, where they spend the summer. They stop for longer mid-migration in hopes of finding food that will fuel the rest of their journey.
A few of the whales spotted in the bay have been visibly emaciated. Now three whales have turned up dead.
The Marine Mammal Center was on the way to Rodeo to perform a necropsy Wednesday afternoon, though a spokesperson said the team wasn’t sure how much of the necropsy they’d be able to perform due to tidal conditions.
As of now, the whale’s size, sex, age and cause of death are unknown.
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