Subject: Gray Whale:Dead Whale May Be El Nino Vict (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 13:23:10 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 98 16:16:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@sun.simmons.edu
Subject: Dead Whale May Be El Nino Vict

Dead Whale May Be El Nino Victim

   FREMONT, Calif. (AP) -- A young gray whale, found dead in a
flood-control channel at least three miles from San Francisco Bay,
may be yet another victim of El Nino.
   Now, officials are trying to figure out what to do with the
26-foot-long carcass.
   "All we know is it showed up yesterday," Alameda County
biologist Valerie Layne said Wednesday.
   The scientific explanation for the whale's appearance in the
remote waterway goes like this:
   In spring and summer, gray whales migrate from the Arctic to
Baja California to give birth. Mothers and calves then return
north, passing San Francisco Bay and sometimes swimming in to
escape storm-churned waters. This winter, thanks to El Nino, storms
have been more frequent than usual.
   "Whales in the bay are associated with rough waters," said Bob
Jones, a scientist with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the
University of California, Berkeley.
   Unfortunately, baby whales occasionally become separated from
their mothers and get lost. Whales, dead and alive, have turned up
in Hayward, Redwood City, San Jose's Alviso district and Alameda in
recent years.
   The younger whales, which depend on mother's milk, wind up
starving to death. That appears to be the case with the Fremont
whale, experts said.
   The whale, dubbed "Baby G" after flood-control worker Gary
"G" Telles, sits in the channel as officials look for a way to
remove the bloated and decaying remains.
   "This is not a police matter," said Fremont detective Dennis
Madsen, who drove out to look at the carcass. "We don't do
whales."
   The most likely course will be lifting it by crane to a truck
and hauling it away for burial, said Roy Munoz, Alameda County
Public Works Agency supervisor.