Saturday, May 24, 2014

Carcass of whale returned to Pacific Ocean

Young Humpback whale washed up
at Surfer's Beach,
near Pilar Point Harbor
Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 5/23/14.  "Scientist study whale, prepare to tow it to sea." 

"A team of researchers was hard at work Friday afternoon dissecting the remains of a baby humpback whale at Surfer’s Beach. Soon, they plan to tow it out to sea. The carcass of the juvenile humpback whale first appeared off the jetty on Wednesday evening.  .... The whale was a female juvenile, measuring about 25 feet in length. Based on the size, researchers estimate the whale was less than 2 years old.

 ....  A team from the California Academy of Sciences was studying the whale up close for the first time on Friday.  .....We’re going to try and put together the bones to figure out what happened,” said Sue Pemberton, a curatorial assistant with the academy of sciences. “This is important science. Believe it or not, but this helps with the preservation of the animals.

Coastside beaches have recently been a bonanza for live whale sightings. Dozens of gray whales have been sticking close to the local shores on their migratory path to the feeding grounds off Alaska. ....  Humpback whales tend to be a more rare sight than gray whales, but the
y also follow a similar migration up north."

Related article - NBC Bay Area/Riya Bhattacharjee, 5/23/14, includes video/Marrianne Favro, 1.40 minutes. "Dead baby Humpack whale washes ashore in Half Moon Bay."  "Marine biologists are trying to determine what killed a baby humpback whale that washed ashore in Half Moon Bay Wednesday.  The Marine Mammal Center said Friday that the whale had arrived on shore at Surfer's Beach in Half Moon Bay, 150 yards south of the jetty. The California Academy of Sciences will be leading a necropsy (animal autopsy) Friday. The procedure is expected to take a while. The whale washed up near the seawall at Pillar Point Harbor just off of Highway 1."  Note:  photograph (4 of 9) by Carol Sue Ayala from this article. 

Related -  Homestad (whale watching tourism)/Juvenile Humpback Whales/Gary Crockett, includes video, 2:31 minutes, and whale watching videos. "After spending 12 months or so with it's mother a Humpback Whale leaves her and becomes a juvenile whale. .... Juvenile Humpback Whales do not stop growing until they reach about ten years old. They are considered a juvenile whale when they are over 15 feet in length."  ReferenceNOAA Fisheries (Office of Protected Resources).
Posted by Kathy Meeh

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