Dead Gray whale Calf Found on Orange County Coast

SUNSET BEACH, Calif. (AP) - A dead gray whale calf has washed up
on an Orange County beach.

Marine biologist Alisa Schulman-Janiger says the 3-month-old male calf was estimated to have been dead for about 10 days when it washed ashore Sunday.

The 25-foot-long whale has three deep parallel cuts in its side indicating that it had been hit by a ship propeller. Further testing will determine whether the injuries occurred before or after death.

Gray whales head north up the California coast each spring, returning from the lagoons off the Baja Peninsula where they spend the winter months. Mothers and calves typically lag several weeks behind grown males.

The current gray whale population is estimated at about 21,000. It is recovering from a few difficult years of scarce food.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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