Two gray whales were discovered dead this past weekend on beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, authorities reported on Monday.
A 37-foot adult male whale, first seen on Saturday morning, ended up on a remote part of Agate Beach. Later that day, National Park Service staff noticed the second whale about one mile off Point Reyes National Seashore. The next day, the same whale was seen near the surf line along North Beach before it ultimately washed ashore.
These latest incidents make it the third and fourth time this year that dead gray whales have been found in the Bay Area, as per The Marine Mammal Center. They noted the species has been encountering an “unusual mortality event.” Since 2019, there’s been an increase in the number of dead gray whales appearing on beaches from Mexico to Alaska.
The Marine Mammal Center identified the leading causes of these whale deaths to be malnutrition, entanglement, and vessel collisions. The sightings coincide with the gray whales’ annual migration period, during which they travel north along the West Coast from their breeding and birthing locations near Mexico towards their feeding grounds in the Arctic.