Exam to study dead whale found at Seattle ferry terminal

AP News
Posted: Jan 22, 2015 7:13 PM
Exam to study dead whale found at Seattle ferry terminal

SEATTLE (AP) — A 32-foot gray whale that turned up dead under the Washington state ferry terminal in downtown Seattle has been moved so biologists can figure out why it died.

The whale was towed from the dock to a nearby location Thursday afternoon, said Broch Bender, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Ferries. The plan is to move it to another secure location for an autopsy.

The female whale was quite decomposed, but biologists hope to learn as much as possible about its death, said Michael Milstein, a spokesman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service.

The animal likely had been dead for at least several days, though it might not have been under the dock that long, he said. It's not known yet why it died, how it got under the dock, or other details.

The whale was discovered under Colman Dock ferry terminal late Wednesday. Ferry service wasn't affected, but people reported a foul odor.

This is the tail end of the period when gray whales migrate south, Milstein said. They spend their summers feeding in Alaska. Each fall, they travel along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.