As the annual gray whale migration draws to a close, yet another dead marine mammal washed up on another Northern California beach.
The carcass of a juvenile gray whale washed ashore Portuguese Beach on the Sonoma County coast either Friday evening or Saturday morning. The 28-foot body was already decomposing, and State Park officials think it died of natural causes. A tissue sample was taken by the Marine Mammal Center, and they don't believe it died from trauma, like being hit by a ship.
Portuguese Beach is a part of Sonoma Coast State Park, and rangers plan on leaving the carcass where it is. "Generally we leave dead and sick animals where they are and let nature take its course," ranger Damien Jones told the The Press Democrat. The tide will probably wash it back out to sea.
The gray whale migration from their Baja breeding grounds back up to Alaska along the coast usually winds down at the end of May.
The carcass is yet another in a cluster of dead whales washing ashore in Northern California, including a sperm whale last month and a young humpback whale earlier this month, both in Pacifica.