Late last week came with the discovery of a dead blue whale on one of the beaches of California. Following this unfortunate discovery, specialists conducted a necropsy to try and determine its cause of death. Now, according to results, they concluded that the large mammal is the victim of a ship strike.
The Dead Blue Whale Is the Unfortunate Victim of a Boat Collision
The blue whale, a 79-foot female adult specimen, was discovered on Agate Beach in Bolinas, situated some 10 miles of San Francisco, along the Marin County Coast. It was detected early on Friday. Necropsy results showed that this large animal presented signs of trauma to the skull and had a fractured spine. She also had broken ribs.
Marine Mammal Center specialists were in charge of the necropsy and analysis. They concluded that these injuries are indicative of “significant blunt force trauma” and correspond to the effects of a boat 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,” states Barbie Halaska, part of the Center.
The Marine Mammal Center also points out that ship strikes are among the leading causes of whale deaths. Halaska points out that the Center is trying to offer such deaths as an example and a source of change.
Necropsy and similar other analysis are the basis for a new series of recommendations. These helped impose route changes and also slower shipping speeds. Such measures were applied in the hopes of keeping other whales from suffering the same faith.
This blue whale will remain on the beach where it was discovered. It will be left to decompose and eventually wash back into the ocean. The large reef off the beach makes it impossible for a vessel to try and tow it away.
Blue whales hold the title of largest animal alive but are also an endangered species. There are an estimated 8,000 to 9,000 living such specimens, 2,800 of which live along the Californian coast.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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