CBS: “Mysterious whale deaths” in California under investigation

from ENENews Scientists perplexed, this is “very concerning” — “Continues trend of whales washing ashore” — Animals sick, starving, emaciated, too weak to swim, hemorrhaging

CBS San Francisco, Apr 24, 2015 (emphasis added): Mysterious Whale Deaths: 4 Carcasses Wash Ashore NorCal Beaches This Month — Lab officials are investigating the deaths of two gray whale carcasses that washed up this week in Santa Cruz County… This latest instance continues the trend of whales washing ashore on Northern California’s beaches. Last week an emaciated 50-foot sperm whale washed up on Pacifica Beach… Just days ago, a killer whale beached itself north of Fort Bragg… According to the Marine Mammal Center, whale strandings are fairly rare.

San Jose Mercury News, Apr 21, 2015: Bay Area scientists remain perplexed as to what killed an adult sperm whale… “This is a very intriguing… they don’t naturally beach themselves,” said Dr. Caitlin Brown, a veterinarian with The Marine Mammal Center. “And the fact that he’s a top predator and so emaciated is very concerning.”… [It’s] about 11 feet short of the average… and multiple tons short of the average 90,000 pounds… Lauren Rust, a research biologist at The Marine Mammal Center [said] “A sperm whale stranding is a rare event” … “It’s nothing that I’ve ever seen,” [a resident] said… “It’s just heartbreaking… It really makes you wonder.”

KPIX transcript, Apr 15, 2015: “A team of scientists [say] the whale was likely sick, possibly even starving… Lauren Rust, biologist: ‘He looks very thin, his bones are protruding. It appears that he hasn’t been eating, there’s not a lot of stomach content.’ The scientists say they wont know for a while exactly why the whale died, or if it’s related to the deaths of other marine mammals, like seals, which have been washing ashore in record numbers.”

San Francisco Chronicle, Apr 15, 2015: Sue Pemberton, a curatorial assistant from the [California Academy of Sciences], said the whale appeared to be underweight for its size, which could indicate a disease or other problem. “It should have a nice, sleek torpedo shape, but you can see the outline of his skull and shoulder,” she said.

Mirror, Apr 17, 2015: [The 50 ft. whale was] bleeding from its head… It is the seventeenth sperm whale to wash up on the North California coast in the last 40 years

San Francisco Chronicle, Apr 19, 2015: Whale’s cause of death remains a mystery… “There were no broken bones, and while some hemorrhaging was visible in the muscles, it was not enough to indicate blunt-force trauma such as a ship strike,” the scientists said.

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