Baby whales dying along West Coast from unknown cause — Gov’t experts request rush on tissue testing — Scientist: “May have been born weak” — Carcasses washing up on beaches in US, Canada, Mexico — Highly endangered whale “died from abnormal blood clot formations in heart and lungs” (VIDEO)

Published: December 30th, 2015 at 8:36 pm ET
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Canadian Press, Dec 30, 2015 (emphasis added): A female orca calf has been found dead on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Paul Cottrell of Fisheries and Oceans Canada said a surfer spotted the dead whale washed up on Mussel Beach near Ucluelet on Dec. 23… a necropsy was conducted on Christmas Day. Scientists are still awaiting results of tissue-sample testing and a cause of death is not yet known… “All our populations of killer whales are at risk, so it’s a shame regardless of which population it’s from,” he said. “You hate to lose a calf out of these populations.” Scientists have requested a rush on the tissue testing… He said it’s believed the calf was about two months old… Cottrell noted it was especially unfortunate that the calf was female because of their value in contributing to the population.

The Argonaut, Dec 23, 2015: Heavy Seas Beach Dead Whale in Santa Monica… The remains of a 10-foot, 1,200- to 1,400-pound newborn gray whale washed ashore Tuesday afternoon on Santa Monica Beach… Lifeguard Capt. Kenichi Haskett said… officials believe the whale died a day or two after its birth.

Weekly Alibi (New Mexico), Dec 23, 2015: I rented a blue Dodge Neon in Chula Vista and decided to drive as far down the Pacific coast as a week would permit… I stopped in Ensenda and got a stamp for my passport… That night I stayed at a little ranch by the sea… The beaches were empty. I found a small dead whale on the shore one day.

NBC San Diego, Dec 11, 2015: Lifeguards closed off beach access to Del Mar Shores Friday morning after a dead, newborn gray whale washed ashore, officials confirmed… According to Jim Gilpatrick with the NOAA Fisheries, the calf is about three to four weeks old… Biologists are not sure why the whale died. There was no sign of foul play or fishing lines, and Gilpatrick speculated the animal may have been born weak. They took samples to try to determine the cause death.

KHON, Dec 18, 2015: Rodney Kuahiwinui sighted a dead whale at South Point… marine mammal experts were able to identify the animal as a highly endangered false killer whale… Scientists were able to determine [it] died from abnormal blood clot formations in the heart and lungs… Only three Hawaiian false killer whales have been reported stranded in the past 18 years. “With less than 200 individuals alive today, every piece of information is critical,” says [Dr. Kristi West, head of Hawaii Pacific University’s stranding program].

Watch the NBC San Diego broadcast here

Published: December 30th, 2015 at 8:36 pm ET
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