Blue whale washes ashore in Northern California

FORT BRAGG, Calif. (AP) - October 22, 2009

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the whale was spotted on the shores near Fort Bragg in Mendocino County Monday night, hours after an ocean survey vessel reported hitting a whale a few miles away.

The massive creature had gashes on its body.

NOAA wildlife biologist Joe Cordaro says it's rare for blue whales, the world's largest mammals, to wash ashore. However, last week another blue whale washed up in Monterey County, also having been hit by a ship.

Before that, the last time a blue whale had washed onto a beach in California was 2007.

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