“Our team hasn’t responded to this number of dead gray whales in such a short span since 2019,” Dr. Pádraig Duignan, director of Pathology at The Marine Mammal Center, said

By Naledi Ushe
April 26, 2021 05:09 PM
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dead whale
Credit: kron 4

A fifth whale has been found dead in the San Francisco Bay Area of Calif. in less than a month.

The latest was found washed up on the shore Friday near Fort Funston, according to the Associated Press.

An investigation into the cause of death is being conducted by The Marine Mammal Center.

Four other beached whales were found between March 31 and April 8.

 The Marine Mammal Center determined that one of the whales' cause of death was due to it being struck by a ship. Investigations into those four deaths are also still ongoing. 

"Our team hasn't responded to this number of dead gray whales in such a short span since 2019 when we performed a startling 13 necropsies in the San Francisco Bay Area," Dr. Pádraig Duignan, Director of Pathology at The Marine Mammal Center, told KRON4 recently.

Duignan also spoke to the AP following the fourth whale found dead ashore, telling the outlet, "It's alarming to respond to four dead gray whales in just over a week because it really puts into perspective the current challenges faced by this species."

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The Marine Mammal Center did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request to comment.

Gray whales are currently doing their yearly northern migration from Mexico to Alaska.