A fin whale estimated to be
about a year old died on Stinson Beach Monday morning, according to a Marin County park ranger and officials with the Marin Mammal Center.
The young whale calf was reported to Marin County Parks at 7:15 a.m. on the north side of Stinson Beach near Upton Beach, Chief Park Ranger Rob Ruiz said.
It was pronounced dead around 10 a.m., Ruiz said.
The whale, estimated to be about 40 feet long, was found thrashing on its side, Ruiz said.
The Marine Mammal Center's veterinary team moved the whale away from shore to conduct a necropsy later today, center spokeswoman Kate Harle said.
Blood was found around the whale's mouth, Harle said.
It is likely the whale washed up on shore around midnight during high tide, she said.
This is the Marine Mammal Center's fourth case involving a beached fin whale since 2010, Harle said. The center has responded to 10 whale strandings from 2011-2013 so far, she said. Three whales were stranded in 2012 alone: a Fin whale at Point Reyes; Humpback whale at Half Moon Bay; Beaked whale in Humboldt County. All were carcasses.
Since 2010, the center has responded to three fin whales, and the causes of death were different for all three: ship strike, maternal separation and entanglement.
The last whale to strand at Stinson Beach was a Northern right whale in 2006. Fin whales are classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
–Bay City News Service contributed to this report. Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. – Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.