Watch: Dead whales towed to remote private beaches to rot
- Scientists say there's a spike in dead gray whales along the United States West Coast.
- At least 81 gray whale corpses have washed ashore in California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska since January.
- Add in reports from Mexico and Canada and that number reaches 160.
- For more stories, go to www.businessinsider.co.za.
Scientists say there's a spike in dead gray whales along the United States West Coast.
It’s gotten so bad officials are appealing to landowners to provide the use of private beaches to allow the carcasses to decompose, reports AP.
At least 81 gray whale corpses have washed ashore in California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska since January, 30 of them in Washington state alone. Add in reports from Mexico and Canada, and that number reaches 160.
Authorities are now scrambling to find remote stretches of sand that are privately owned, with owners who don't mind hosting a rotting creature bigger than a school bus, with a stench to match its size.
Experts estimate the washed-up whales represent just 10% of the total number of the dead, with the rest sinking into the sea unnoticed by humans.
The global gray whale population is estimated at 27,000, the highest since surveys began in 1967.
Scientist declared the die-off an "unusual mortality event". Some think the population has reached the limit of what the environment can sustain, causing a rash of starvation.
Another theory cites the loss of Arctic sea ice due to global warming as the cause of the rash of deaths.
The whales spend their summers in the Arctic feeding on tiny shrimp-like, bottom-dwelling creatures called amphipods before migrating 16,090 kilometres to winter off Mexico, where the females give birth.
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