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Officials: gray whale found stranded on Camano Island

Gray Whales
Gene Johnson
FILE - In this file photo taken May 24, 2019, the carcass of a gray whale lies where it washed up on the coast of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, just north of Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park. Researchers say the population of gray whales off the West Coast of the United States has fallen by nearly one-quarter since 2016, resembling a similar die-off two decades ago. In 2021, NOAA Fisheries reported that surveys counted about 6,000 fewer migrating whales last winter, 21,000 as compared to 27,000 in 2016.

CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. (AP) — Officials are responding to a dead gray whale found beached on the west side of Camano Island.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries West Coast Region posted about the massive stranded mammal, saying a necropsy would be performed. The agency posted photos of the animal belly-up on a rocky beach, the Everett Herald reported.

The whale will be left on-site for “land-based natural decomposition” so nutrients return to the ecosystem, according to a tweet.

Since 2019, gray whales along the West Coast and Alaska have been experiencing an “unusual mortality event.” Since then, more and more of the animals have been getting stranded and dying. That includes one 43-foot-long gray whale that washed ashore near Harborview Park in Everett three years ago.

According to NOAA data, there have been 259 gray whale strandings in the United States since 2019. Another 251 occurred along Mexico in the same time period. So far this year, three of the four gray whale strandings in the U.S. have been in Washington.

Researchers are still trying to figure out what’s behind the deaths.

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