The remains of a gray whale washed up on Ocean Beach in San Francisco and were being examined by marine wildlife officials on May 7, 2019.

Tim Ryan/KCBS Radio

Dead Whale Becomes Ocean Beach Spectacle

Tim Ryan
May 07, 2019 - 10:34 am

SAN FRANCISCO — Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center have begun the necropsy of the gray whale that washed ashore on Ocean Beach.

Dr. Padraig Duignan was leading a large team of researchers from the center that were slicing into the whale's remains on Tuesday morning to learn what caused its death. The adult female whale seemed undersized and may not have been eating enough. Duignan said to reporters on the beach. 

This is the ninth dead gray whale discovered in the Bay Area this year, an alarming number to the experts.

Some died of malnutrition while others were struck by ships. There were no signs that this whale had been hit by a vessel, officials said early in the necropsy. 

The ninth dead whale since mid-March has washed up on a Bay Area shore. This one is on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. #news #localnews #whale #oceanbeach #sf #sanfrancisco #deadwhale #beach #greywhale #ocean #donttouch

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The necropsy will take four to five hours but the final results of toxicology tests could take weeks. The whales migrate between Mexico and Alaska every year. 

It is not clear whether the afternoon high tide will wash the whale back out to sea, but that is what officials are hoping. 

The whale's carcass attracted many curious onlookers on Monday. Officials discouraged people from touching the whale's body. 

Reporter Megan Goldsby contributed to this article.