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7 dead whales reported on Kodiak Island in 2018

KODIAK — Seven dead whales washed ashore on Kodiak Island in 2018, according to officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The cause of death for two of the whales appeared to be predation, and blunt trauma for another two whales, including a fin whale that was struck by a state ferry, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

The cause of death for the other three whales was not determined.

Four of the animals were gray whales, NOAA officials said.

Altogether, 18 dead whales were reported across the Gulf of Alaska last year.

That is far short of the 49 deceased whales reported in the region in 2015.

The cause of that event remains unknown, but scientists have tied it to unusually warm waters in the gulf during that period.

The first of last year's Kodiak strandings was reported June 25 to the Alaska Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

In that case, a Kodiak resident reported that the body of a gray whale calf had landed on a beach near Pasagshak Bay. The animal's tongue was missing, indicating it might have been a victim of a killer whale.

A report of an adult gray whale washing up on another beach near Pasagshak followed June 28, with results of a necropsy suggesting blunt trauma as a possible cause of death. In early July, the body of a severely emaciated adult gray whale stranding was reported in another bay.

A fourth dead gray whale washed ashore in Pasagshak Bay, with that stranding reported In early August. The head and jaws were missing, indicating it was likely killed by a killer whale.

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