WARRENTON — A 36-foot sperm whale carcass washed ashore Monday morning near the Peter Iredale shipwreck in Fort Stevens State Park.
According to the Seaside Aquarium, the carcass was first sighted floating a few miles off the coast of Newport Thursday. Strong northerly currents pushed it farther north, where it was later spotted 4 miles west of Camp Rilea Sunday by the U.S. Coast Guard.
At about 10 a.m. Monday, the carcass washed ashore approximately 2 miles north of the Peter Iredale.
Aquarium staff took measurements, but the carcass was very decomposed. State parks employees helped remove the whale’s lower jaw, which will be transfered to Portland State University.
The rest of the carcass will remain on the beach to naturally decompose, allowing shorebirds and raptors a feast.
“Leaving the carcass on the beach is really good for the beach ecosystem,” a release from the aquarium said. “In the small time we were there we witnessed bald eagles, western gulls, ravens, and even a small white-faced storm petrel scavenging on the carcass.”
According to the aquarium, the last sperm whale to wash ashore on the northern Oregon Coast was in 2012.