Dead fin whale comes ashore on Washington coast
Jun/14/13 11:48 AM
The adult male whale was moderately decomposed with most of the skin missing. The lower jaw of a fin whale has an asymmetrical coloration of the baleen (black on the left side and creamy white on the right side), a physical characteristic of this species which aided in the identification of the whale. There was significant bruising and evidence of blunt force trauma consistent with a ship strike.
Dangers still exist for fin whales, however, as ships move through krill feeding grounds where the whales forage near the surface - easy victims for ship strikes. This is the second fin whale to wash ashore this year on Washington beaches, both attributed to ship strikes.
Responses such as the one yesterday by members of NOAA’s Northwest Marine Mammal Stranding Network rely on critical funds from the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant. Recently Prescott funding was slashed from $4 million (for the entire nation) to a mere $1.4 million. Additionally, it has been eliminated completely from the proposed 2014 Federal Budget. These grants fund the scientific research necessary to monitor the health of our marine ecosystem and ensure timely response by groups all across the US to protect both marine mammals and the public. Read more about this essential program and how to contact your congressional representatives to restore Prescott funds.