SAUSALITO, California (AP)—A gray whale that was found dead on a San Francisco beach was hit by a ship.
The 41-foot-long adult female was spotted May 6 at Ocean Beach.
The Marine Mammal Center says a necropsy performed May 7 found the whale’s skull and upper vertebrae had fractures consistent with a ship strike.
The whale also seemed in poor shape. Its insulating layer of blubber was thinner than usual.
It’s the ninth whale found dead in the San Francisco Bay Area since March. The center says three previous whales died from ship strikes and four from malnutrition.
The center says some grays are in poor condition during this year’s annual migration from Mexico to Alaska. They suspect some are having trouble finding food as warming ocean conditions cause changes in their food supplies.