40-foot sperm whale with open wounds found dead on Oregon beach
A young, 40-foot sperm whale with large gash wounds was found dead on an Oregon beach on Saturday, in a loss for an endangered species that has struggled to recover its population despite a halt in commercial whaling decades ago.
The whale was found bleeding out on a beach near Fort Stevens State Park and appeared to have died before washing ashore, the Seaside Aquarium said Saturday on Facebook. Video footage of the whale shows it lying with its mouth open in a rippling pool of blood, with a large gash running through its side.
Michael Milstein, a public affairs officer for the West Coast Regional Office of NOAA Fisheries, said that the whale appears to have died after being struck by a ship and that the carcass probably floated ashore. NOAA Fisheries conducted a routine necropsy – an autopsy for animals – on the body to determine cause of death.
“Sperm whales are less common up in the Northwest in the wintertime than they are in the summer, so it’s somewhat unusual to see them here at this time of year,” Milstein said.
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