Dead whale found floating around the Bay 

For the second time in three weeks, a dead whale was discovered floating in San Francisco Bay.

The whale was first spotted floating several hundred yards off of the Ferry Building midday Wednesday. By 3 p.m., it had drifted north and was floating north of Pier 27, according to the Police Department Marine Unit.

The whale was about 20 to 30 feet long — about the same size as the gray whale calf discovered dead in the ocean last month — but its age and species are still being determined, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Lambert said.

The Coast Guard was shuttling out scientists from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito to examine the whale and determine whether the carcass was fresh enough to tow to shore, or if it may have floated in from the Pacific Ocean, Coast Guard Officer Brian Henry said.

This is the second time in about three weeks that a young whale has been found dead in the Bay. On April 20, the Marine Unit found a dead baby gray whale floating between Fort Mason and Alcatraz.

The whale was towed to the East Bay, where a necropsy was conducted and nothing obviously wrong was discovered. The Marine Mammal Center has sent samples from the whale to a testing center in an attempt to determine the cause of death. It was determined to be malnourished.

Gray whales are commonly seen in the region this time of year, as the whales have completed their calving season off the coast of Mexico and are migrating north with their calves this time of year.

Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald has said two common causes of premature death for whales are being struck by ships and being tangled up in nets and other human detritus.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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Katie Worth

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Sunday, Feb 18, 2018

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