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Whale Carcass Buried After Landing on N. Oregon Coast Beach near Pacific City

Published 04/21/2020 at 6:54 PM PDT - Updated 04/21/2020 at 6:59 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Whale Carcassed Buried After Landing on N. Oregon Coast Beach near Pacific City

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(Pacific City, Oregon) – A 39-foot Gray whale carcass that landed on a beach near Pacific City this week has been buried in the sand. The male, which had been deceased for a week or more, rolled onto the Sand Lake Recreation Area sometime before morning on Friday, discovered by a park host still working there. (Photos courtesy OPRD)

Beach rangers from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and a local contractor buried the whale on Monday, which was in an advanced decomposed state and smelled badly.

Sand Lake Recreation Area, a popular beach spot about 15 miles southwest of Tillamook on the north Oregon coast, is operated by the U.S. Forest Service. The area is closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the NOAA West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network were on scene before the burial to take tissue samples from the whale. (See Stinky Whale Washes up on N. Oregon Coast Beach near Pacific City for full story)

On Friday, the central Oregon coast arm of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network – associated with OSU and the Hatfield Marine Science Center – came up from Newport and took samples.


Jim Rice is the manager of that team. He talked to Oregon Coast Beach Connection earlier this weekend and said test samples from the whale would likely not yield any conclusive evidence on how it died because it had been dead so long, and most tissue was already quite rotten. He did, however, add that it seemed underweight.

“There was nothing obvious about how it died,” Rice said. “No signs of fishing interaction or a predation event.”

Necropsies are the regular procedure for whales that wash up on the Oregon coast and the Washington coast, as part of regular scientific research but also to determine if there are any new trends in whale deaths. In fact, Rice said there has been some unusual mortality in gray whales in the last year. More photos of this situation below:





Photos below of the whale when it was discovered, courtesy Tillamook County Sheriffs.

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