PACIFICA (CBS SF) — Two dead whale carcasses washed up on Bay Area shores on Tuesday afternoon, one in Richmond and one near Manor Beach in Pacifica. This marks five dead whales on the region’s shores since March.
Pacifica police said they received a call about a dead whale around noon on Tuesday. They estimated the whale was approximately 35 feet long, but didn’t yet specify what type of whale it was. The location of the whale was 500 Esplanade Drive.
Some people near the area took to social media when they noticed the whale’s body floating near the shore break.
The Coast Guard also received a call at about 1 p.m. confirming the whale was by Manor Beach. They are warning people to stay away from the area.
The other dead whale washed up along the shoreline near Richmond along Brooks Island Regional Preserve.
Biologists say there’s no reason for alarm yet, as they search for answers in this string of whale deaths.
Barbie Halaska from the Marine Mammal Center said, “Biologists in Washington, California, Alaska and Oregon are all seeing gray whales that are malnourished that are really skinny.”
“We are going to get out on the beach and do a necropsy as soon as possible. We are going to be going out to these whales to find a cause of death and determine what’s going on with these guys,” explained Halaska.
At least two of the five whales died of severe malnutrition. Why the whales are malnourished is the question biologists want to answer. They say many of the whales were skinny when they left the coast off Alaska. Scientists worry that whales are facing food scarcity due to a shift in the ocean food supply.
The Marine Mammal Center is investigating the deaths of the two whales found on Tuesday.
In the previous whale deaths, biologists determined they were malnourished. Only one died after being hit by a ship. The Marine Mammal Center will also be looking for diseases and conducting toxicology tests in hopes of finding some answers.