Dead baby whale surfaces on Ore. Coast

Dead baby whale surfaces on Ore. Coast

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on May 11, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 12 at 12:35 PM

SEASIDE, Ore. -- A baby minke whale surfaced near the South Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River Tuesday and now authorities are trying to figure out how it died.

Biologists said the young whale was about 13 feet long. Full-grown minke whales can reach 30 feet.

Dozens of curious residents came to get a glimpse of the majestic creature after marine mammal experts pulled the whale from the high tide to the beach.

This marked the third time since January that a baby whale has surfaced off the Oregon Coast.

Keith Chandler, Coordinator for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, said the whale was only a few months old and was likely still nursing.

"This is an unusual whale to find," he said. "It’s the first Minke I’ve seen washed up on our beach here. They're out here, they’re just usually further off shore."

Although there were visible cuts and marks on the whale’s body, Chandler said it will take a necropsy to determine if the whale had been struck by something such as a ship. Biologists hope to perform a necropsy Wednesday.

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