180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
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Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Deceased Oregon Coast Seal Quite a Specimen,
|Elephant seal body (photos: Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – An elephant seal corpse
that washed up on the north Oregon coast was an unusual find, clocking
in as the largest such creature in this area in nearly 15 years.
Wednesday morning, crews from the Seaside Aquarium responded
to a call that an elephant seal had washed ashore about 100 yards from
Cannon Beach’s big tourist landmark, Haystack Rock. The creature
turned out to be the biggest crewmembers have ever seen, about 10 feet
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Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said the find is unusual
because this is a nearly fully-grown specimen, which never appear onshore
in this area of the Oregon coast. Periodically, elephant seal pups will
rest onshore around here, or juvenile males will strand on beaches during
their painful molting sometime in their first year, but never adults or
elephant seals this size.
“It’s the biggest I’ve ever seen in my
27 years at this job,” Chandler said. “It’s about twice
as long and four times as big as we see here.”
said a Portland man, Leonard Thompson, was walking along the beach early
Wednesday morning when he spotted the creature. Thompson told an Associated
Press cameraman it was still alive when he spotted it, but Chandler said
he doubted that was true.
“We went down there and didn’t see any obvious
reason for its death,” Chandler said. “But it was also a gorgeous
specimen. Very healthy before it died.”
said there is a breeding colony of elephant seals on the southern Oregon
coast, but once they reach adulthood, they generally stay around there
or at least a few hundred miles out to sea if they come up this far north.
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“It’s not normal to see live ones of this size
here,” Chandler said. “In the last six or seven years they’ve
established this colony on the south coast, but this is an uncommon event.
They’re main hub of activity is down around San Francisco. But as
their numbers increase on the south coast, we may see more here.”
Boothe, an education specialist with the aquarium, said this particular
seal wasn’t yet an adult, but close. “Males of this species
can reach sizes exceeding 17 feet and weigh more than 4,000 pounds.”
She talked about how these seals were nearly extinct, until
“Elephant seals were hunted to near extinction in
the 1800's for their blubber, leaving only 100 to 1,000 individual animals
remaining,” Boothe said. “Since their protection, their numbers
have increased and today their population has almost been restored to
crew was there to make sure the creature didn’t wash away at high
tides, so they tied it down for the next few days. A necropsy will be
conducted on the beach to determine cause of death and to discover other
things about the seal. That is planned for Friday, but Chandler said that
may not happen until Wednesday.
tied it down because it’s kind of a steep beach, and the surf is
likely to come up again and wash it out,” Chandler said. “We
don’t want to have a situation like we did two years ago with the
baby sperm whale that washed away and we chased it for like two months.”
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That whale washed up around Hug Point, then drifted back
out to sea. Chandler said it was a beautiful specimen when it was first
discovered, but by the time they found it again, it was battered and decayed.
Chandler said they aren’t too worried about the public
disturbing the corpse, because it blends in well with the surroundings.
“It looks like a log, so no one is paying too much attention to
|Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach
The necropsy will be conducted by a recent transplant from
Florida who now lives in Tillamook. They will be looking at stomach content
and other samples of flesh, in order to find out many things about it,
including why it may have come up to the north Oregon coast.
When the necropsy is done, Chandler said the bones will
be taken from the elephant seal for further study or display somewhere.
The parts of the body not used for samples will be buried on the beach
at Cannon Beach by city officials, using a backhoe to dig a large pit,
where the remains will be covered up.
Cannon Beach is among several coastal towns that
have the resources to take care of stranded animals and their remains.
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Than 20 Reasons for a Late Spring Oregon Coast Jaunt From
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Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Wines and Wine Bars on the Oregon Coast Wine shops
and wine bars are a growing part of coastal tourism
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
Coast Real Estate
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Where the Columbia
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Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
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A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
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A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes