Researchers say there’s a spike in dead gray whales along the United States West Coast.
The state of Alaska is up to 22 confirmed gray whale deaths this season, according to NOAA spokesperson Julie Speegle. Seven additional sightings were confirmed over the long holiday weekend, Speegle said, with one necropsy having been completed.
The 16th gray whale, a male, was reported at Surfers Beach on Kodiak Island Friday, Speegle said, and a necropsy was performed over the weekend, though information gleaned from that necropsy was not yet available Tuesday.
Additional confirmed whale deaths reported over the weekend included three more on Kodiak Island, two at Egegik on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula, and one on Takli Island, just off the south side of the Alaska Peninsula.
The whales confirmed this weekend are above and beyond the latest numbers posted to NOAA’s site dedicated to the “Unusual Mortality Event,” stretching up and down the Pacific Ocean coast to Mexico.
As of June 27, the site reported 14 Alaska whales, and 85 total for the U.S. The total for the U.S., Canada and Mexico this season was reported at 171 by that date.
To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, you can call the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-877-925-7773, or report to the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16.