SAN FRANCISCO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Two more gray whales were confirmed dead in Alaska, bringing the local total number of deaths to 12 this year, the Alaskan regional office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries said Monday.
The office said they first received a report of a dead juvenile gray whale in waters south of Egegik, in Bristol Bay, last Friday.
"NOAA confirms 2 more dead gray whales in #Alaska. Total is now 12, after report Friday of a juvenile gray whale floating 10 miles south of Egegik, in Bristol Bay; and Sunday, report of male gray whale on Sitkinak Is., east of Kodiak Is.," the office tweeted.
The Alaskan regional office said it has no plans to take any action in response to the latest report of dead whales at this time.
While scientists are exploring possible cause of the deaths of the marine mammals, they suspected that the whales died from the lack of food.
NOAA Fisheries has said in earlier reports that elevated gray whale strandings have occurred along the west coast of North America from Mexico through Alaska since Jan. 1, 2019.
As at June 21 this year, a total of 81 reports of gray whale strandings were registered, with California state topping the list with 37 instances, followed by Washington state with 29 and Alaska 10, according to the agency's data.
Last month, it called the growing number of whale deaths along the U.S. west coast an "unusual mortality event." It said 167 gray whales have been found dead from Mexico to Alaska.