POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif.—A rare, endangered fin whale has been found dead at a beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore, the apparent victim of a ship strike.
The Marin Independent Journal reported (http://bit.ly/MrOJ4y) the 47-foot-long juvenile whale washed up near Wildcat Beach on Friday with severe injuries.
Dr. Frances Gulland of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito said the whale’s spine was fractured, likely as a result of being hit by a vessel.
Fin whales can grow to nearly 90-feet in length, and are the second-largest mammals on the planet behind the blue whale.
The filter feeders are also the fastest large whales, reaching speeds of 25 mph.
The rare whales exist around the planet, with a population of about 2,000 currently estimated to live off the Washington and California coasts.