There's something wrong with this picture of a dead 'fish'

A fin whale carcass in Larson Bay, Alaska
A fin whale carcass in Larson Bay, Alaska

OK, full disclosure: this is not a picture of miniature grizzly bears feeding on a giant fish, as some people on Reddit feared, but there is still something disturbing about it for environmentalists in the US.

The above image, captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows one of about 30 large whales which have washed up in the Gulf of Alaska since May (and yes, those are regular-sized grizzly bears).

A fin whale carcass on Whale Island, Alaska (Picture: Dr Bree Witteveen/Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program/AP)

The NOAA, which says it is "very concerned" about the deaths, has classed the phenomenon an "unusual mortality event" - which means they basically have no idea why it is happening.

An unusual mortality event is a stranding event that is unexpected, involves a significant die-off of a marine mammal population, and demands immediate response.

The agency explained in a press release this weekend that "11 fin whales, 14 humpback whales, one grey whale, and four unidentified cetaceans" have all become stranded on islands in the gulf or found dead in the ocean along the southern shoreline of the Alaskan Peninsula.

Picture: Google Maps

NOAA officials will now conduct a scientific investigation into why the deaths are occurring, which could take several months.

While we do not yet know the cause of these strandings, our investigations will give us important information on the health of whales and the ecosystems where they live. Members of the public can greatly assist the investigation by immediately reporting any sightings of dead whales or distressed live animals they discover.

  • Dr Teri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries' marine mammal health and stranding response coordinator

A fin whale calf off Marmot Bay in Kodiak Island, Alaska (Picture: Rob Baer/Alaska Department of Fish and Game/AP

HT Reddit

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