This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
A gray whale was found dead near Clam Gulch late Thursday. It’s the fourth gray whale found dead in Alaska and the second gray whale found dead in Cook Inlet this year.
The cause of death is still unknown. Since Monday, a team of biologists have been waiting for a minus tide to reach the whale so they can perform a necropsy, Julie Speegle, public affairs officer with the Alaska regional office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said.
The Clam Gulch whale is the most recent in a series of whale beachings this month, including one spotted last week near Kodiak, one near Cordova two weeks ago and one in Turnagain Arm earlier in May. Last month, a young humpback whale was stranded twice on the shores of Turnagain Arm.
Speegle said for the last 18 years, between January and May, normal records have indicated between zero and three gray whale deaths a year.
“We’re slightly above that now,” Speegle said.
Speegle said the whale was a sub-adult, or not fully an adult, and is estimated to be between 20 and 24 feet long.