A young gray whale found dead Tuesday afternoon in Long Beach Harbor may be the same animal that was caught in a fishing net off the coast over the weekend, say wildlife authorities. An investigation is pending.
Monica DeAngelis, a NOAA marine biologist, said the 20-foot-long animal "had black rope attached to its flukes and injuries to the base of its tail, indicating that it had been entangled in debris at some point," notes the L.A. Times.
The animal, found floating and bloated, was towed by lifeguards to the researchers who took photos and collected skin samples for DNA. It will be difficult to determine a match, however, because no DNA was collected during the weekend entanglement, they say.
"We do have a lot of entangled animals, especially gray whales, so it wouldn't be a surprise if it's a new one," said DeAngelis.