A dead sperm whale washed ashore next to the wreck of Peter Iredale along the northern coast of Oregon.
WARRENTON, Oregon. On Sunday, hundreds of people flocked to the Oregon coast to see a dead whale washed ashore near Fort Stephens State Park. Marine experts said it was a 40 foot long sperm whale.
People of all ages marveled at the predator that turned the spectacle on the sand.
“I think it’s really cool and it smells really bad,” said one girl.
“It’s an amazing part of nature for what it is,” another man said.
“I just think there are such amazing animals living there,” said one woman who photographed the animal. “I don’t know how they do it. It’s wild.”
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Over the weekend, he washed up on the beach right next to the wreck of Peter Iredale. It was first reported as a humpback whale, which is a common sight since about half a dozen humpback whales are washed up on the Oregon coast every year. Marine experts later determined that it was a sperm whale.
“You can tell they have a big jaw, they have a really big mouth with a bunch of teeth, they have a very distinctive look,” explained Tiffany Booth, Assistant Manager of Seaside Aquarium.
The aquarium is part of the Marine Mammal Stranding network, which means they respond to dead or live animals on the Oregon coast. They then report their findings to Portland State University. On Sunday morning, they removed the whale’s lower jaw and teeth. A few hours later, a pool of blood from this procedure surrounded the whale’s head.
“A lot of scientific value can be obtained from the lower jaw, and unfortunately there are people who will come and extract teeth, so it is very important for us to remove this entire jaw as soon as possible,” Booth said.
The whale is a male 40 feet long. An autopsy conducted on Monday showed that the whale died after colliding with the ship, NOAA said.
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“I don’t know, I just feel sorry for the animals,” added the boy, who was there with his father.
“There aren’t many whales left, and that’s why it’s always sad when we see one of them washed ashore,” one person said.
It will remain on the beach to naturally decompose. Marine experts urge people to watch, but from afar.
“We ask people not to touch marine mammals. They can carry diseases that can be passed on to humans and pets, so it’s just a good idea, especially since we don’t know exactly what happened to the whale, to keep our distance,” Booth said.