Whale Washes Up; Dolphin Finds on N. Oregon Coast Slightly Concerning - Updated, Video
Updated 02/02/2016 at 5:51 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Seaside, Oregon) – UPDATED PHOTOS, W/ VIDEO. Five creatures washing up on the beaches of the Oregon coast all at once isn't exactly commonplace, but it's not regarded as highly unusual or alarming. But when three of them are one kind of ocean mammal with no clear signs of how they died, some officials get a little concerned. (Photo above: the Humpback whale in Seaside, taken by Angi Wildt).
This is what happened this weekend when a young Humpback whale washed up in the surf at Seaside, along with a harbor porpoise at Camp Rilea and then three striped dolphins – all within 48 hours. The deceased Humpback isn't too unusual, although they don't wash up often. The harbor porpoise is quite commonplace, according to Keith Chandler of the Seaside Aquarium.
Three striped dolphins, however, make Chandler think something may be connecting them. One was found in Cannon Beach, another at Ocean Park on the Washington coast, and a third washed up Monday in Seaside.
The most dramatic – certainly for the public – was the 24-foot Humpback juvenile. Chandler guessed it was about a year old or just tad more so. It began rolling in on Sunday, flopping around just beyond the tide line, and in conditions too dangerous to get to for Marine Mammal Stranding Network crews.
“But it hadn't been a dead a real long time because it didn't smell so bad,” Chandler said. “Some of the skin was sluffing off. But it wasn't too bad.”
Necropsy results should be available tomorrow, Chandler said. Until then there are no clues why it passed away.
How it and the other creatures washed up can usually just be attributed to large surf conditions. Things die out there, and then sometimes they simply wash up in bunches because of what's happening with the waves.
Chandler said the three striped dolphins may have another possibly distressing element.
“That's fairly unusual that we have three particular animals in such a short time,” Chandler said. “We usually get a striped dolphin every one or two years. The whale was not that fresh. The three striped dolphins all looked very fresh.”
The necropsy on the dolphins is being done right now as well, and so far there wasn't any sign of trauma or what else might've killed them.
“My suspicion is perhaps they got caught in a net,” Chandler said.
If so, a necropsy would reveal drowning, but even that wouldn't necessarily prove a net. Chandler said all they can do is wait for results, but he is still a little concerned something out-of-the-norm may be at play.
In the meantime, the whale will be eventually buried in the sand by Seaside city crews. While the creature is still on the beach, Chandler urged the public not to touch it or to let dogs near it. It likely has harmful bacteria on it. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours
Below: previous dolphin incidents, photographed by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium.
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