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Huge Blue whale killed by a ship in California.

21/10/2009 22:57:48
whales/nov 2009/blue_whale_wagner

A Blue whale killed by a ship strike and washed up at Fort Bragg. Photo copyright Larry Wagner.

A huge, 72 foot long, female Blue whale has been killed by a collision with a ships propeller off California. The carcass of the whale, clearly showing a deep gash on its back, weighs more han 50 tons and has washed ashore at the base of some cliffs in Fort Bragg, California.

An ocean survey vessel had reported hitting a whale about seven miles off the coast earlier that day. This is at least the second Blue whale killed by a propeller strike off California this year.

About 3,000 of the world's 12,000 blue whales live off the west coast of the Americas, and make an annual summer migration from Mexico and Central America. In September 2007, four Blue whales were found dead in a few weeks off California. Read more »

A huge gash is clearly visible on the whale's back.
Photo copyright Larry Wagner

The images were provided by Larry Wagner, a photographer who happens to live in Fort Bragg, very near the site where the dead whale has washed ashore. Click here to see more about Larry Wagner

Silver lining
It is rare that scientists are able to study a 'fresh' deceased blue, as most of them that die at sea and only occasionally wash up on shore, and then in an advanced degree of composition. However this tragic accident provided an opportunity for a biology professor and three students from Humboldt State University who were able to climb around the carcass at low tide, and take samples and measurements. 

 
  

A massive Blue whale that was killed by a ship strike off California before washing up at Fort Bragg.

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