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Young gray whale that washed ashore on Whidbey Island was emaciated, researchers say

SEATTLE — The carcass of a 30-foot gray whale washed ashore on the west side of Whidbey Island, and an examination on Thursday showed the young female was emaciated, Cascadia Research said.

The carcass was first spotted on Tuesday.

“The whale was just under 30 feet long and determined to be emaciated, and the poor nutritional condition was likely a principal factor in its death,” the Olympia-based Cascadia Research said. “The thorough examination did not reveal any indications of trauma from ship strike or signs of entanglement but a wide range of tissues were collected for examination for pathology, disease, biotoxins, and contaminants.”

Cascadia Research went on to say, “The unique markings on this whale did not match any of the more regular individuals that are typically seen in this region and cataloged by Cascadia Research and was likely one of the more than 20,000 gray whales that migrate past Washington each year in spring. The primary period for strandings of gray whales is April, May, and June so we are still early in this period.”