One more whale note: Fate of the one watched here 3 weeks ago

April 17, 2010 8:04 pm
|    Comments Off on One more whale note: Fate of the one watched here 3 weeks ago
 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news | Wildlife

(March 27 photo by Trileigh)
In case you haven’t yet seen the link in Herongrrrl‘s comment following this morning’s coverage of the whale-towing operation off Arroyo Beach: We now know what happened to the gray whale that spent the day swimming in West Seattle waters on March 27. The Orca Network page on Facebook linked to this update from Cascadia Research regarding the four gray whales found dead in Puget Sound before the one in the Arroyos on Wednesday. According to that update, a gray found near Fidalgo Island on April 11th matches photos of the whale watched here three weeks ago. It was described as thin, with its stomach full of “woody debris.” While this is certainly sad news, there’s an important paragraph in the Cascadia Research report:

At this point while these deaths are important to monitor, we do not consider them alarming and they do not appear to reflect any specific problem in Puget Sound. None of the whales that have died are the regular animals that visit Washington waters on a regular basis each year. These appear to be stragglers from the larger gray whale population of close to 20,000 gray whales that typically migrate north past Washington each spring after fasting several months in warmer southern waters they use as their breeding area. This makes April a period when whales that did not get enough food on their Alaskan feeding grounds may be running out of their reserves. A major mortality event occurred in 1999 and 2000 in which 50 gray whales died in Washington State in the two years combined.

One of those whales beached in West Seattle in 1999 – the last stranding here until this week in The Arroyos. (Again, that latest one was towed away this morning for a necropsy at an undisclosed location to the south – here’s our report, to which we just added information from Seal Sitters‘ Robin Lindsey, who works closely with NOAA, that the whale has been “secured” at the location where that necropsy will be done tomorrow.)

No Replies to "One more whale note: Fate of the one watched here 3 weeks ago"

    Sorry, comment time is over.