40-Foot Whale Washes Up On Oregon Coast Near Iredale Shipwreck

Image courtesy of Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium

An already dead 40-foot sperm whale washed ashore over the weekend on Saturday on the Oregon Coast, near the Iredale Shpwreck at Fort Stevens State Park. According to the Seaside Aquarium, the whale is a male juvenile, and hadn't been dead for too long.

They also mentioned the whale most likely was hit by a ship, and an incident such as this is quite rare. Personally, my mind went right to a rather bizarre piece of history on the Oregon Coast. Many reading this are probably familiar with the famous exploding whale incident, which happened in 1970 when some super smart dudes decided the best course of action was to blow up a dead whale with dynamite. If you have not read about this occurrence, hit the link here to read on. Hopefully, this time around, no one decides to blow the whale up.

The lower jaw has already been removed to the whale could be studied. This week, a necropsy (an autopsy performed on animals) has been scheduled for Monday. Beach Connection mentions the whale did have some gashes as well. With the necropsy, this gives folks in the lab a chance to check for diseases, and see if the wounds on the whale happened before death.

Sperm whales remain an endangered species, as their populations were near the brink of extinction due to so much hunting in the last century. Amazingly, they can weigh over 40 tons and grow to be up to 60 feet long, according to the Seaside Aquarium. Sperm whales mature around age 52 and can live for up to 60 years.

Fort Stevens is one of Oregon’s greatest treasures. Located just 20 minutes west of Astoria, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific, it is tailor suited for history buffs and nature enthusiasts, beachcombers, campers and hikers.