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The 13th gray whale to wash up on a San Francisco Bay Area beach. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At least 70 dead gray whales have washed up on the west coast this year, according to a statement made Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, ABC reports.

Why it matters: The death toll is higher than we presently know. These stranded whales represent only 10% of how many have actually died, per research biologist John Calambokidis. NOAA has launched a scientific investigation into the cause of the deaths, describing it as an "unusual mortality event."

Catch up quick:

  • 37 whales have beached in California, with more than 12 concentrated on the San Francisco Bay. Other locations include Oregon, Alaska and Washington.
  • Gray whale death rates this high have only been seen once, in 2000 — with the most stranded whales found in Alaska (45) and California (61).
  • There is a chance the gray whale population can rebound, if environmental and food availability conditions are right.

What they're saying: “It is very unusual. A normal year for us, we have maybe between one and three [dead] gray whales in this season. This is triple that already, in less than a two-month period," Chief research pathologist at the Marine Mammal Center Pádraig Duignan told the Washington Post, on stranded whales in California's Bay area.

The bottom line: Researchers are trying to determine if the cause of death is related to warming temperatures in the Arctic, other environmental factors, disease or human activities like ship strikes.

Go deeper: Climate change could make it harder for blue whales to find food

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bill Clinton hospitalized for non-COVID-related infection

Former President Bill Clinton. Photo: Win McNamee/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was admitted to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday for a non-COVID-related infection, his spokesperson Angel Ureña said Thursday.

The latest: In an update on Friday, Ureña said Clinton's health indicators are "trending in the right direction, including his white blood count which has decreased significantly."