The carcasses of at least nine endangered fin whales have been found floating near Alaska's Kodiak Island.

University of Alaska Fairbanks officials say the sightings of the massive marine mammals began in mid-May and continued for two weeks, documented by photographs.

The carcasses of two whales washed ashore. Samples were taken from one of the dead animals and sent to a lab. UAF spokeswoman Deborah Mercy says the results are pending.

Mercy says the whales feed near each other, and marine mammal specialists speculate the animals might have eaten something toxic.

UAF marine mammal specialist Kate Wynne said in a news release that it's rare to see even one fin whale carcass every couple of years.

A dead humpback whale also was found, but in a different location.