A decaying gray whale was discovered lying on Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach, California, following recent heavy storms.
The carcass, approximately 30 feet long, had been dead for weeks but washed up on the beach recently.
Experts believe the incident is not unusual, as 10 to 12 gray whales wash up on California beaches every year.
Gray whales, once nicknamed “devil fish” due to their aggressive responses to harpoons, were extensively targeted by commercial harpooners.
The population declined significantly, leading to conservation measures being established in the 1930s. Justin Viezbicke, the California coordinator for the NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, said they have no clue why these mammals wash up on the beach.
The mammals undertake one of the longest migrations, covering over 10,000 miles between Baja California, Mexico, and the Arctic for feeding and calving, the USA Today reported.
Gray Whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act because scientists once considered them endangered.