Strong winds, seasonal migration likely cause of dead whales on beaches

The dead whale that washed up on a Point Reyes National Seashore beach this week is the latest of several reported in Northern California this spring.

On Wednesday, experts said the influx is probably being caused by strong winds and a large whale population in the area.

Biologists have collected samples from the badly decomposed whale and transferred them to the California Academy of Sciences for analysis, said John Dell’Osso, a Point Reyes National Seashore spokesman. Because it is located in a remote area, he said it is unlikely officials will move or bury the body.

The dead whale is the latest of a number that have washed ashore along the California coast, including another juvenile gray whale found Sunday on Portuguese Beach in Sonoma County. About a dozen dead whales have been reported in an area extending roughly from Santa Cruz to Mendocino County since April, said Mary Jane Schramm, a spokeswoman for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Others have probably gone unreported on more remote beaches, Schramm said.

While the number is unusually high, Schramm said it mostly reflects unusually strong onshore winds coming in from the Pacific, pushing dead whales ashore.

Bay Area NewsCalifornia Academy of Sciencesdead whalesPoint Reyes National Seashore

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