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California Gray Whale Calf Found Dead on West Goleta Beach

Officials say it's the same calf seen last week in the waters between the sea center and Stearns Wharf

A California gray whale calf was found dead Wednesday evening on West Goleta Beach.

A comparison of the animal’s tail fluke pattern with that shown in a photo of a whale calf seen last Wednesday in the waters between the Ty Warner Sea Center and Stearns Wharf helped officials determine it was the same whale calf. The cause of death remains unknown.

Michelle Berman, associate curator of vertebrate zoology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, coordinated a necropsy Thursday. The museum collected standard measurements, tissue samples and fluid samples. The samples will be processed to help determine the cause of death.

The museum is a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and is responsible for conducting necropsies for strandings in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The museum is responsible for reporting dead cetacean (whales and dolphins) and sea otter strandings in the Tri-County area.

Marine mammals are protected by federal law. It is illegal for unauthorized people to disturb, handle or feed them. It is also illegal to collect, possess or obtain parts of marine mammals from dead strandings.

— Easter Moorman is the marketing and public relations manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

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