Dead blue whale washed ashore in Claifornia - image

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Dead blue whale washed ashore in Claifornia - image

The body of a majestic blue whale, a 70-foot female, was found on the Northern California coast with two gashes on her back - one that was eight feet long.

She was spotted on the shore near Fort Bragg in Mendocino County hours after an ocean survey vessel reported hitting a whale a few miles away, said Joe Cordaro, a wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's marine fisheries service.

Students from California State University, Humboldt, examined the whale's massive body as it lay on its side in a rocky cove.

'I was personally jazzed just to see the animal,' said Thor Holmes, a lecturer in mammology at the school. He has examined other whale species that washed ashore but never a blue whale.

The whale had two gashes on its back - at least one of which was deep enough to cut through the blubber down to the vertebral column, Holmes said. One gash was eight feet long.

The whales are 'usually far offshore, deep water animals,' Cordaro said.

Although blue whales are considered endangered, experts say they have recently made a comeback and now number several thousand.

Some blue whales feed in the waters off Central and Northern California this time of year then migrate elsewhere to breed, said Dawn Goley, an associate professor of zoology at the Humboldt campus.

Researchers have taken skin and blubber samples from the beached animal to see what contaminants it may have been exposed to and what population group it comes from.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

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By netchicken: posted on 21-8-2010








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