Experts concluded Saturday that an endangered fin whale that washed ashore in San Francisco died due to injuries sustained from a ship strike.
The 46-foot juvenile whale carcass was spotted at sea on Friday by the U.S. Coast Guard and landed in Fort Funston.
Researchers from The Marine Mammal Center, the California Academy of Sciences and University of California at Santa Cruz determined the whale experienced blunt force trauma to its neck.
Over the course of 46 years, the center has treated six fin whales, and five of those died from trauma from ships.
Barbie Halaska, necropsy manager for the center, said in a statement:
“By investigating deaths like this, we can learn more about how human activity and changing environmental trends are impacting large whales.”
“Ship strikes are the biggest threat fin whales face, so this investigation helps us understand the challenges these animals face and inform decision-makers so we can safely share the ocean with marine wildlife.”
Members of the public are encouraged to report any sightings of dead whales or whales in distress to the center’s rescue hotline at (415) 289-7325.