Sunday, January 25, 2015


The body of a California Gray Whale was located under the Colman Ferry Terminal dock on Seattle's Waterfront this week.  The whale was a female approximately 2-3 years old an in excellent health prior to being struck by the ships propeller.  There were 6 deep gashes in the whale that were determined by scientists to have been the cause of death. 
The California Gray Whale population is considered healthy and not endangered.  Whales die of natural causes and wash ashore occasionally on Puget Sound beaches.  It is sad however to see a healthy whale killed due to contact with humans.  It is unlikely that the ship ever saw the whale or even knew it had hit it.
The whale had likely been dead only a few days or less before being discovered under the Colman Ferry Terminal dock so was likely hit by a ship near Seattle.
California Gray Whales migrate between Baja California and the Arctic each year.  Calves are born on the winter grounds in Baja lagoons and make the first trip north with their mothers.  After feeding in Arctic waters during the Summer ice free months the whales make the return journey to Baja California lagoons for another season of mating and birthing.
California Gray Whales are not uncommon seasonally in Puget Sound and small numbers are found every year feeding on ghost shrimp in the Everett area during the Spring months. 
While uncommon the rest of the year in Puget Sound Gray Whales have been seen in the Sound every month of the year.
For more information on this whale and images of the necropsy click on the link below:

Below are some images of the Gray Whale including a few of a necropsy conducted on a whale that died near Tacoma WA in 1991.

California Gray Whale

California Gray Whale blow

California Gray Whale head - paired blowholes

California Gray Whales in Baja California lagoon

California Gray Whale approaching boat

Amphipods - main food of Gray Whales in Arctic waters


New born Gray Whale in Baja California
Gray Whale baleen (1991)

Gray Whale testes (1991)

39 foot Gray Whale from Tacoma (1991)

Gray Whale intestines (1991)

Sand in Gray Whale stomach (1991)

Gray Whale necropsy (1991)

Gray Whale necropsy (1991)

Gray Whale blubber and skin (1991)

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