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Blue whale found on the coast of California died ship strike, scientists say

A 62-foot blue whale was found Monday ashore on a beach north of San Francisco. Scientists said the animal died from a vessel strike.

(Marine Mammal Center)

A 62-foot blue whale carcass that washed ashore on the beach north of San Francisco on Monday died from a ship strike, the Marine Mammal Center, said Tuesday.

The young female blue whale died from “blunt force trauma consistent with a vessel collision,” the nonprofit organization said in a statement.

“The blue whale, the largest animal on Earth and an endangered species, so to learn that this person’s death is a result of a ship strike is very unfortunate,” said Barbie Halaska, a Marine Mammal Center, the investigator, told the Bay Area KTVU2 FOX.

.@TMMC: Blue whales died from ship collision #PointReyes. The centre has responded on 8 whale carcasses this year https://t.co/DDEaeGeP7g pic.twitter.com/S9Y7apFDoZ

— KTVU (@KTVU) 20 June 2018

The man-made ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements are the “primary threats” to blue whales — an endangered species, and the major cause of non-natural whale deaths, according to the center.

“The blue whale, the largest animal on Earth and an endangered species, so to learn that this person’s death is a result of a ship strike is very unfortunate.”

– Barbie Halaska, researcher, Marine Mammal Center

A team of 19 scientists conducted a necropsy on the blue whale and discovered multiple broken vertebrae and severe tissue bleeding along the whale’s back, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

Upon further inspection, scientists found also a broken back and bruising of the ribs and mandible, the report said.

This is the 10th blue whale, the centre has responded in the 43-year history, the center of the statement said.

It was also the eighth whale of all kinds for the middle of this year, the Magazine reported.

The blue whale, was found decaying with his stomach was “extremely bloated” gulls foraged through the remains of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The carcass was discovered in the south of Limantour Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore, about 50 km northwest of San Francisco.

Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center, California Academy of Sciences, Point Reyes National Seashore and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration participated in the necropsy, the Magazine reported.

BREAKING: the Blue whale, which washed ashore @PointReyesNPS yesterday died by blunt force trauma consistent with a ship strike. Blue whale, the largest animal on earth and an endangered species pic.twitter.com/PGsxMToU4w

— The Marine Mammal Center (@TMMC) 20 June 2018

“Understanding and documenting the extent of the injury by a necropsy allows us to share this information with policy makers to help find solutions to prevent these incidents in the future,” Halaska said.

The blue whale, the largest animal on earth, usually grow between 80 and 100 meters long and are often found in groups, LiveScience reported.

But this whale was isolated, which could explain the ship strike.

On Saturday, a whale watching group in the vicinity of the Farallon Islands, about 27 miles from San Francisco, saw a dead, rotting blue whale floating on the water, the Chronicle reported.

“It could have drifted for miles, so it is a matter of re-perception,” Bill Keener with the Golden Gate Cetacean Research, told the newspaper.

About 2,800 blue whales, an endangered species, live off the coast of California, according to the mammal center.

Earlier this month, a blue whale dived in the Red Sea, LiveScience reported.

In February, a 66-metre-long blue whale carcass was found along the coast of Chile profaned with graffiti and stomped on by tourists, Fox News had reported.

Amy’s Place is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

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