Whale Necropsy: Alaska’s 16th dead whale of the year washes up on Surfer’s Beach - Kodiak Daily Mirror: Kodiak News

Whale Necropsy: Alaska’s 16th dead whale of the year washes up on Surfer’s Beach

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 9:00 am

KODIAK — While the rest of Kodiak was in the midst of an ongoing heatwave, Surfer’s Beach was shrouded in fog Saturday. The portentous weather felt apt, given that the carcass of a gray whale had washed up on the shore of the popular recreation spot two days prior. If a hapless vacationers had taken a westward stroll down the beach that afternoon, they would have stumbled, quite abruptly, across a small crowd of people using gaff hooks and machetes as they performed a necropsy on the animal. 

Since January 1 there has been an elevated level of gray whale strandings along the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska, prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare an “unusual mortality event on June 1. As of Monday, a total of 174 gray whales have washed up on the shores of the U.S., Mexico and Canada this year, according to NOAA. Between 2001-2018, the average number of annual gray whale strandings in the US was roughly 29. The whale that beached on Surfer’s on July 4 was the sixteenth dead whale to wash up on Alaskan shores in 2019. 

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