The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking riparian landowners to allow their lands to decay dead gray whales.
Mario Rivera and Stefanie Worwag of Port Townsend, Washington State, have already said yes to this offer, which allows officials to observe the natural processes of the marine environment. Skeletons left after decomposition are used for educational purposes, NOAA said.
According to NOAA, some thirty Gray Whales have been stranded in Washington until this year, the highest number in twenty years or so.
Whales are mostly present near the mainland waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, which reduces the space that mammals must decompose naturally, officials said.
NOAA reported that it was working closely with local, regional and federal agencies to identify decay sites, but was looking for additional options as a result of an increase in the number of dead whales found . Rivera and Worwag are volunteers at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, which deals with stranded marine mammals.
It is not known how long it takes for the whale to decompose – some weigh up to 40 tons.
NOAA Fisheries is now looking for other waterfront property owners to propose their properties to decomposition experimentation, according to a press release from the agency.
On the west coast, more than 70 gray whales were stranded this year, which led NOAA to report an unusual mortality event. An investigation into their death is in progress.
According to NOAA, many whales appeared to be malnourished, which could suggest that they may not have consumed enough food during their last summer feeding season in the area. 39; Arctic.