POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE -- The Marine Mammal Center will respond to a blue whale carcass that washed ashore today a few miles south of Limantour Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore.
"This is only the 10th blue whale carcass that our team has responded to in our 43-year-history, so this is a rare chance to learn more about the overall health and life history of this species," Marine Mammal Center researcher Barbie Halaska said in a statement.
The Marine Mammal Center's rescue department first received public reports Saturday evening of the carcass floating two miles east of the Farallon Islands.
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The Marine Mammal Center has responded to eight whale carcasses this year. Ship strikes and entanglement in fishing hear are leading causes of whale mortality.
The Marine Mammal Center and the California Academy of Sciences will develop a plan Tuesday to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
Blue whales are the largest animals on earth and are listed as an endangered species. Approximately 2,800 blue whales live off the California coast and are seen in summer and fall in the Gulf of the Farallones and the Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries.
Dead blue whale washes up on beach in Point Reyes