Although perhaps morbid to some, in the grand cycle of life of Alaskan mammals the presence of dead whales is significant. Humpbacks are an endangered migratory whale with a global footprint. More than 28,000 North Pacific humpback whales were killed by whalers in the last century. Worldwide their numbers were reduced to an estimated 10,000 in 1965, There is no precise number known today.
It is important to know what impact cruise ships have on these giants of the oceans, and their cause of death is of particular interest.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A marine mammal observer aboard the first cruise ship of the year spotted a dead humpback whale washed up on a beach in Glacier Bay National Park, a park spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The carcass of the 41-foot baleen whale was discovered last week on a rocky beach at Scidmore Cut in the upper West Arm area of the bay, Allison Banks said.
Banks said the whale likely died over the winter and floated into the bay before washing up on the beach. It was so decomposed that the cause of death may never be known.
You can read more about humpback whales in Glacier Bay from the National Park Service.