On early Friday, people discovered a massive blue whale that washed ashore dead on a beach in California. Following its detection, scientists have been looking to determine its cause of death. Now, specialists claim that this animal was most likely, even surely struck by a ship.
This Ship Strike Had Serious Effects on the Blue Whale
The female adult blue whale was detected on the Agate Beach in Bolinas, situated along the Marin County Coast, around 10 miles to the north of San Francisco. She presented a fractured spine, head trauma, and also broken ribs. This is according to the Marine Mammal Center, which conducted a necropsy.
According to specialists, these are all injuries indicative of “significant blunt force trauma”, one most likely caused by a ship strike.
“The whole left side of her body was damaged. We found 10 broken ribs and 10 fractured vertebrae near the tail and mid-body,” stated Barbie Halaska.
The Marine Mammal Center points out that ship strikes are one of the leading causes of whale deaths. They also state that analyzing and examining dead such animals can help establish new recommendations.
These usually involve ship route changes or slower shipping speed. The Center hopes that such changes can help protect future whales from suffering the same faith.
A statement also offered details on the outcome of this dead blue whale. She will remain on the beach to decompose and be washed up back in the ocean.
Although attempts have been made, it would reportedly be “very tricky” to try and tow away the decomposing whale. This is because of the beach’s large reef, adjacent to the Point Reyes National Seashore and which renders it impossible to get a towing vessel in there.
The Marine Mammal Center reports that this is the ninth time it has responded to the death of a blue whale in its 42 years of existence. Blue whales are the world’s largest living animals but also an endangered species.
With an average lifespan of 80 to 90 years, these mammals can reach lengths of 110 feet.
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