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Smelly 'Globster' of a Dead Whale Will Be Left to Oregon Coast Wildlife

Published 03/08/2017 at 7:03 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Smelly 'Globster' of a Dead Whale Will Be Left to Oregon Coast Wildlife

(Warrenton, Oregon) – A 36-foot sperm whale in a particularly nasty state of decay has hit one north Oregon coast beach this week and plans are for it to stay there and let nature take its course. (Photos courtesy Seaside Aquarium).

Commonly known as a “globster” - a rotting corpse of a whale that is often barely recognizable – it came ashore around Warrenton on Monday morning. The body is just north of the wreck of the Peter Iredale in an area where the beach narrows and where there may not be as much sand as there appears to be. This is one reason why the foul-smelling globster won't be buried and will instead be left as food for local wildlife.

Crews from the Seaside Aquarium and Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) responded on Monday once it hit the beach. Aquarium crews – part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network – took measurements, gathered other data and removed the jaw for further testing and a necropsy.

Above: pools of whale oil in the water around the whale

The sperm whale had been dead for some time, and aquarium manager Keith Chandler said its smell was “not pleasant.” Still, its body was not missing sections as many long-deceased sea mammals do when they strand.

“As for the rest of the carcass, it is going to remain on the beach for nature to take its course,” said the aquarium's Tiffany Boothe. “By not burying the carcass shorebirds and raptors will be able to feast on this fatty-rich food. Leaving the carcass on the beach is really good for the beach ecosystem.”

Chandler said this is a natural approach that OPRD is trying to utilize whenever possible. Since this area is rather isolated, with little foot traffic, and it's a spot where the sand may not be as deep as it looks, Chandler said this approach just made sense.

“If it was a busier place like on Seaside or Cannon Beach we would bury them,” Chandler said.

Indeed, Boothe said that while crews were present many birds started feeding on the body of the whale.

“In the small time we were there we witnessed bald eagles, western gulls, ravens, and even a small fork-tailed storm-petrel scavenging on the carcass,” Boothe said. “The petrel was actually ‘sipping’ the whale oil off the top of the water which had pooled up around the head of the animal.”

Sperm whale carcasses have been quite rare on the Oregon coast in recent years. The last one on the northern part of the coast that the aquarium staff dealt with was in 2012. There were a handful of others between 2006 and 2010.

Aquarium crews knew about the whale a couple of days in advance, Boothe said. U.S. Coast Guard crews spotted it last week off Newport. It then began moving northward and was reported on Sunday by the Coast Guard as drifting about four miles off Camp Rilea. Boothe said drift models suggested it would wash up between the camp and the Columbia River, and it did exactly that.

Officials urge you not to touch the carcass of the whale as doing so could make you sick. The same warning holds for dogs. It is also illegal to remove any part of a whale. Lodging in Astoria/Seaside - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours







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