Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 1, 2022

California’s best-known whale dies from likely ship strike

SF Gate  reports

The hearts of marine biologists across California sank when the first photos of a dead humpback whale in Half Moon Bay surfaced Monday morning.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a research associate at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, recognized the distinctive fluke on the massive 49-foot beauty stretched across the sand at Manhattan Beach, 30 miles south of San Francisco, the day before.

Schulman-Janiger reached out to her friend Ted Cheeseman, who founded an online database tracking whales around the world, and he confirmed the worst — Fran, California’s best-known, lovable whale, a favorite among scientists and whale watchers, was killed by what was likely a brutal ship strike. Fran was in great shape and well-nourished with a full body of blubber, but her skull was knocked off her spine, likely by a ship, according to the necropsy. Her only child was with her and it’s unknown whether it survived.

Read more at  California’s best-known whale dies from likely ship strike

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