A whale that spent 75 days in San Francisco Bay before dying in April likely died due to a combination of factors, including vessel strike and malnutrition, according to a preliminary report by the California Academy of Sciences.
The 46-foot-long female humpback whale, nicknamed “Allie,” first entered the bay in January and was first spotted near the Golden Gate Bridge. Experts tracked her movement throughout the bay, noting that she had lost significant weight and appeared to be in poor health.
On April 16th, the whale was found dead near Oakland’s Jack London Square. The necropsy report released by the California Academy of Sciences found that Allie had suffered multiple blunt force injuries consistent with vessel strike, as well as evidence of malnutrition and an infection in her lungs.
While vessel strikes are a leading cause of death for whales in the region, it is unusual for a humpback whale to remain in the bay for such an extended period of time. Scientists are still investigating why Allie stayed in the bay for so long and why she was unable to find enough food.
The death of Allie has brought renewed attention to the issue of vessel strikes and the importance of protecting marine life. In recent years, efforts have been made to reduce the risk of vessel strikes, such as speed limits and rerouting shipping lanes, but more action may be needed to ensure the survival of these majestic creatures.
Whales play a critical role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, and their loss can have far-reaching consequences. As such, it is important for all stakeholders, from shipping companies to environmentalists, to work together to protect these magnificent creatures and the oceans they call home.