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Fourth dead whale washes up along Oregon coast this month

A dead whale washed ashore in Cannon Beach on Saturday afternoon — marking the fourth whale to wash ashore along the Oregon coast in recent weeks, according to Seaside Aquarium (Courtesy Tiffany Boothe/Seaside Aquarium) January 23, 2023.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A dead whale washed ashore on Oregon’s Cannon Beach Saturday afternoon – marking it the fourth whale to wash up along Oregon’s coastline in recent weeks, according to Seaside Aquarium.

A few days prior, the Coast Guard reported the whale was floating about a mile offshore before reaching Crescent Beach, officials said.

The aquarium said the whale had been dead for at least one month.

  • OR Coast: Gray whale washes ashore at Crescent Beach
  • OR Coast: Gray whale washes ashore at Crescent Beach

Based on the whale’s location, officials said a full necropsy is “nearly impossible,” as the secluded beach is only accessible by hiking. Additionally, its state of decomposition makes it challenging to determine cause of death, the aquarium said — pointing out it had a “sizable” shark bite after its death.

This comes after a 40-foot sperm whale washed ashore in Warrenton on January 14. According to the Seaside Aquarium, the whale, believed to be around 20 years old, was dead before washing up. NOAA spokesperson Michael Milstein said scientists determined the whale died from an impact with a ship.

A few days later, a 12-foot baby gray whale washed ashore near the shipwrecked Peter Iredale on Jan. 18. – approximately 100 yards north of the sperm whale. The aquarium doesn’t believe that the whale was struck by a ship or died from human interaction.

Meanwhile, a dead whale washed ashore near Reedsport on the central Oregon coast earlier in January, Jim Rice of the Marine Mammal Institute of Oregon State University confirmed to Nexstar’s KOIN.

Officials noted the whale found at Crescent Beach is not the baby gray whale’s mother as “this whale has been dead for far too long.”

“While all these whales’ strandings may seem concerning, there is no connection between them. It is purely a coincidence,” Seaside Aquarium said.

The aquarium added, “When we experience weather patterns like we have in the past few weeks, coupled with strong westerly winds, dead marine mammals that have been floating offshore get pushed onto the beach.”

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