Two gray whales were found washed ashore in western Washington this past weekend. That brings the number of gray whales found dead along the Washington state shore to 27 in 2019.
KING 5 viewer Jill Jacobs posted video of a gray whale in Westport. John Calambokidis with Cascadia Research Collective said a team went out to examine that whale Sunday.
Calambokidis said a second gray whale was found near Port Ludlow. It was towed Sunday and will be examined Monday.
Washington isn't the only state to see an increase in stranded whales. About 70 whales have been found dead along the West Coast, from California to Alaska. Another five whales have been found on British Columbia beaches.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will investigate the spike in gray whale deaths, declaring this die-off as an "unusual mortality event."
Only 25 gray whales washed ashore in 2018, according to NOAA.
The eastern North Pacific gray whales were removed from the endangered species list in 1994, after recovering from the whaling era.
The population has grown significantly in the last decade and is now estimated at 27,000 — the highest since surveys began in 1967. That has raised questions about whether their population has reached the limit of what the environment can sustain. Another theory suggests that the loss of Arctic sea ice due to global warming is a culprit.
The Associated Press contributed information to this story.