Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Harbor Porpoise Strands on Alki Beach

On May 1, 2013 a male Harbor Porpoise was found dead on Alki Beach in Seattle WA.  The individual was 4 ft. in length which is about the minimum size for a male that has reached sexual maturity, so this may have been a juvenile. Maximum size is around 6 feet, with females being slightly larger than males.
Food consists of small fish and squid with some shrimp.
 The porpoise had some trauma to the area just forward of the tail.  One eye was missing due to scavenging likely by gulls.  The body was taken to Cascadia Research Collective for necropsy.
Harbor Porpoises are found the both the North Pacific and North Atlantic as well as the Mediterranean.

Puget Sound is a normal area for Harbor and Dall's Porpoise.  Since the 1960's Harbor Porpoise have been absent from Central and South Puget Sound but during the past few years have been returning to the area.
Dall's Porpoise, which were relatively common in Central and South Puget Sound, now are seen less frequently.  The reason for the possible switch is unknown.  The ranges of these two porpoises overlap in Puget Sound.  The last population surveys were a decade ago with an estimated total of 10,000 animals in Washington inside waters.
For more information:

Harbor Porpoise Male


Harbor Porpoise Alki Beach

Harbor Porpoise

Anus left, genital slit middle, umbilical right

Trauma right side forward of tail flukes

Genital Slit

Trauma to left side forward of tail flukes

Left eye missing - likely gull scavenging 

Left Side


Right eye and teeth

Location on Alki Beach of Harbor Porpoise

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