(WSB photo from Thursday)
From Wednesday through Saturday last week, we brought you the story of the gray whale that stranded and died at Arroyo Beach on the southwesternmost end of West Seattle. Cascadia Research has posted some early results from the necropsy done on the whale’s remains yesterday. Here’s their full writeup. No definitive cause of death, they write, but:
The animal had more than 50 gallons of largely undigested stomach contents consisting mostly of algae but also a surprising amount of human debris including more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball. The debris while numerous, made up only 1-2% of the stomach contents and there was no clear indication it had caused the death of the animal. It did clearly indicate that the whale had been attempting to feed in industrial waters and therefore exposed to debris and contaminants present on the bottom in these areas.
The whale died shortly after Arroyos residents first spotted it off their beach on Wednesday afternoon; researchers towed it away Saturday, bound for the South Sound beach where the necropsy was done, and where it will be left to decompose, with the bones eventually to be collected and displayed by marine researchers from Highline Community College‘s Marine Science and Technology Center.