An emaciated baby gray whale washed up on Santa Barbara’s East Beach at around 1 p.m. Wednesday. Michelle Berman with the Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit (CICRU) said the roughly 1-year-old whale exhibited no obvious signs of external trauma but was so skinny its backbone and neckline were clearly visible. She theorized it suffered from some sort of intestinal parasite or metabolic issue.
CICRU will take measurements and collect blubber samples before the whale is buried in the sand, Berman said. Gray whales are normally migrating south through the Santa Barbra Channel this time of year, though it’s still early in the season. Berman noted recent standings over the summer up and down the Central Coast, which she said might have been caused by unusually warm water temperatures now blanketing the area.
Kelsey Brugger contributed to this report.