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Wayward whale 'Mama' died of skin infection

December 29, 2011 |  1:20 pm

Wayward whale "Mama" died of fungal skin disease

A wayward gray whale affectionately dubbed "Mama" that left the ocean and swam inland in the Klamath River with her calf died of a fungal skin infection likely caused by swimming in fresh water.

"Mama" entered the river with her calf on June 24. Three weeks later, the calf swam back to the ocean, but Mama stayed in the river and died on Aug. 16.

An autopsy determined that the whale had a skin infection, which experts told the Times-Standard of Eureka was likely caused by her skin being weakened by the fresh water, allowing pathogens to get in.


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— Abby Sewell

Photo: A gray whale nicknamed "Mama" swims close by a paddleboarder in the Klamath River in August. Credit: Ashala Tylor / Associated Press