A grey whale, has been found dead in downtown Seattle, under the Washington ferry terminal at the beginning of the week. The whale had been deadly hit by the propeller of a large ship.
The necropsy performed on the whale, found deep cuts on the back and right side of the whale’s body, signs, which indicated the cause of death. The deep cuts, reached its body cavity and the force of the propeller had damaged one of its ribs. The estimated time of death was calculated to have happened between Monday and Tuesday, and biologists believe that the whale has had a fast death, most probably within an hour.
The animal’s body was discovered Wednesday, late in the day, and was found under the Colman Dock terminal, as people reported a terrible odour. After the examination, biologists, stated that the dead whale was a young female with the age between two and three years old and its length was over thirty feet long. Biologists also stated that the whale had been in perfect health condition, as analysis showed that its blubber was thick and presented large amounts of oil. The whale’s remains will be towed from the shore and will be suncked underwater, for it to decompose naturally.
The presence of the whale, in Puget Sound, is something biologists cant really explain, as the majority of the grey whales have already migrated towards the south, heading the Washington Coast.
An official representative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, Michael Milstein, explained that grey whales spent all their summer feeding in Alaska, and every fall they would swim along the coast of the Pacific, migrating from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.
Grey whales are one of the species which have managed to improve their population along the West Coast and are no longer considered endangered species, since they have been removed in 1994 from the Endangered Species Act protection. Even so, the animals remained under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The final results of the necropsy will be analysed by the NOAA Fisheries experts and the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement will establish whether further investigations are needed.
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