LONG BEACH, Wash. (AP) — Biologists say a dead killer whale that washed up near Long Beach over the weekend was a juvenile endangered Puget Sound orca.
The National Marine Fisheries Service and Center for Whale Research identified the whale as L112, a female orca born in 2009. She was part of the L pod, one of three pods of southern resident killer whales that frequent Puget Sound.
Jessie Huggins with Cascadia Research says the orca had significant trauma around the head, chest and side, but the cause of these injuries is still unknown. She says the trauma didn’t look like a typical ship strike but additional tests could provide insight on how the animal died.
She adds that biologists are aware of recent sonar activity in the area and that sonar activity may be one of many factors.
Scientists with Cascadia Research, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Portland State University and others conducted the necropsy Sunday. Results were released Monday.
A newborn offshore killer whale found in November died of a congenital defect.