Science & Environment

Fourth whale found dead on Oregon Coast, but officials say deaths are unrelated

By OPB staff (OPB)
Jan. 24, 2023 2:34 p.m. Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 4:21 p.m.

For the fourth time in less than two weeks, a dead whale washed ashore along the Oregon Coast.

The Seaside Aquarium reports a gray whale was found in a remote area at Cannon Beach. Aquarium officials say the whale had been dead for at least a month before it came ashore.

A decaying carcass of a beached gray whale lies on a remote section of Oregon coastline near Cannon Beach.

A fourth whale carcass was found Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, on a remote section near Cannon Beach, Ore. Officials with the Seaside Aquarium say the gray whale had been dead for about a month before washing ashore, and that its death is unrelated to the three whales found in recent weeks on the coastline.

Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium

A dead gray whale was found Jan. 11 on the central coast near Reedsport. Two days later, a sperm whale carcass washed ashore at Fort Stevens State Park on the northern coast. And then about 100 yards from there, a dead gray whale beached on Jan. 18.

In a Facebook post, the Seaside Aquarium said the four deaths are not connected and all appear to have died from different causes.

“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,” aquarium officials wrote.

A couple days ago the Coast Guard reported a third whale floating about a mile offshore. Saturday afternoon the whale...

Posted by Seaside Aquarium on Monday, January 23, 2023

A crew investigated Monday and took measurements, but officials said the level of decomposition makes it difficult to determine the cause of death. A shark bite was found on the whale carcass but appeared to occur after its death.

This story may be updated.