San Francisco, CA., United States (4E) – Malnutrition may be a major concern as 53 dead or dying gray whales have washed up on West Coast beaches this spring.
Scientists say the death rate has only reached this level once before as the mammals are apparently starving to death.
Even more troubling, a researcher indicated that only 10 percent of dead whales wash up on shore meaning the number could actually be over 500.
Along with the concern over the rising number of whale deaths is the larger issue of the state of the marine ecosystem.
Whales fast for months at a time while making a 6,000 mile trek from Alaska waters toward Mexico and California. Researchers say they may not be eating enough during the other months, however, in order to successfully complete the journey.
There are said to be about 20,000 of the whales in existence. From 1999-2000, 62 dead whales washed up on West Coast beaches according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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