Image: Courtesy of NMFS Permit #18786-02
MAD RIVER BEACH, Calif.(KIEM)- This weekend, a 28- foot juvenile female humpback whale was found dead at Mad River Beach. One of three whales that have been found dead this year; last month, a gray whale was found dead.
Humboldt State University got a call Saturday about a whale that washed ashore. They then showed up Sunday morning in hopes that the whale was still where it was reported.
“Whales are common along this coast; this group of humpback whales migrates from Northern to Central California where it spends its summer time and early fall feeding, and it migrates down to Mexico to give birth and to breed, and it comes back,” said Dawn Goley, Director with National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.
Goley mentions that the whale found Sunday was believed to be dead at least a week before it was found and too decomposed to get samples to determine the cause of death.
Humboldt State University, Marine Mammal Education and Research Program mention that since 2006 on average, 1 to 5 whales have been found dead in nearby beaches.
The samples taken are to understand the condition and genetics of the whales.
“If there is any evidence for the cause of death if it’s fresh enough and not in the surf and not in 20-foot seas, we try and do an internal exam such as a necropsy, and then we gather samples until we send them off for analysis,” said Dawn Goley.
All information gathered by HSU is shared with NOAA to understand better what might be occurring nationally.
If you see a dead or injured marine mammal, contact the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program at email@example.com or 707-826-3650.