ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A second gray whale has been found dead, making it the third whale found in just a few weeks in Alaska. This time the carcass was found near Cordova.
Earlier this month another gray whale was found dead in Turnagain Arm. NOAA has been monitoring that whale’s location. That whale has reportedly washed up near Portage Monday evening.
A juvenile humpback whale was also found dead on April 30, after stranding itself twice in Turnagain Arm.
According to a press release from NOAA, an authorized team of marine mammal biologists performed a necropsy of the young adult female whale beached in the Copper River Delta on Sunday.
Although the necropsy did not immediately reveal a cause of death, it did provide scientists with the opportunity to collect samples to determine if the whale was exposed to harmful algal blooms or other illnesses.
Lead veterinarian Kathy Burek-Huntington from Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services reported in a NOAA release that the animal found near Cordova did not appear emaciated, but that blubber samples will be analyzed for more information on nutritional status.
NOAA first received report of the dead whale on May 14, but the tide carried it offshore. A Kodiak-based helicopter crew from the U.S. Coast Guard was able to find the whale again on May 17.
At least 60 gray whales have been reported stranded dead along the west coast, during their spring migration from Mexico to Alaska. Of those necropsied, many were found to be skinny and malnourished.
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