The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is investigating the cause of death of a gray whale that was found wedged under a ferry pier in downtown Seattle.
The grisly discovery under the Colman Dock Terminal was made late Wednesday evening just before 11 p.m. by a ferry captain, according to KIRO 7. The 10.7-metre long mammal was lodged between pilings and is believed to have been dead for a few days or even a week.
Washington State Ferries crews and divers reportedly spent an hour moving the whale out of the pier, a process that was complete by 2 p.m. Thursday. The whale was taken out of Pier 52 and is now temporarily located at Pier 48 until a site is found for where a necropsy can be performed.
The Seattle Times reports ferry service was not impacted as another slip at the pier was used, but a foul odour was reported from the partially decomposed carcass.
Gray whales are known to migrate at this time of year. They feed in Alaska during the summer and travel down the West Coast to southern California and Mexico from late-fall to early-spring.
Orca and gray whales are also known to occasionally swim in Vancouver’s local waters. In July 2009, a shocking discovery was made when the Princess Cruise Lines’ Sapphire Princess pulled into the dock at Canada Place: onlookers standing from the pier saw a 16-metre fin whale carcass wedged between the bow and the hull of the vessel.
— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) January 22, 2015
— ST Foreign Desk (@STForeignDesk) January 23, 2015
— Matt M. McKnight (@mattmillsphoto) January 22, 2015
— Mark Miller (@MarkMillerKOMO) January 23, 2015
Feature Image: Gray whale via Shutterstock