WARRENTON, Ore. — Hundreds of people flocked to the Oregon coast Sunday to see a dead whale that washed up near Fort Stevens State Park. Marine experts said it’s a sperm whale measuring 40 feet long.
People of all ages marveled at the predator turned spectacle on the sand.
“I think it’s really cool and that it smells really bad,” said one girl.
“It’s an amazing part of nature is what it is,” another man said.
“I just think they’re such amazing animals living out there," said one woman who was taking photos of the animal. "I don’t know how they do it. It's wild."
Over the weekend it washed up onto the beach right next to the Peter Iredale Shipwreck. It was first reported as a humpback whale, which is common seeing as about a half dozen humpbacks wash up on the Oregon coast each year. Marine experts later determined it was a sperm whale.
“You can tell by its large jaw they have this really big mouth lined with a bunch of teeth it has a very distinct look,” explained Tiffany Boothe, the assistant manager at Seaside Aquarium.
PHOTOS: Whale washes up at Fort Stevens State Park
The aquarium is part of the Marine Mammal Stranding network, meaning they respond to animals dead or alive along the Oregon coast. They then report their findings to Portland State University. Sunday morning, they removed the whale’s lower jaw and teeth. A pool of blood from that procedure surrounded the whale's head several hours later.
“A lot of scientific value can come out of the lower jaw and unfortunately there are people out there who will come and carve the teeth out so it’s really important for us to get that whole jaw off as soon as we can,” said Boothe.
The whale is a 40-foot-long male. A necropsy on Monday revealed the whale died after it was struck by a ship, NOAA said.
“I don’t know, I just feel bad for animals,” added a young boy who was there with his dad.
“There’s not a lot of whales left and so it’s always sad when we see one that gets beached,” one man said.
It will stay on the beach to naturally decompose. Marine experts encourage people to look but from afar.
“We ask people not to touch marine mammals. They can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and pets, so it’s just a good idea, especially since we don’t know exactly what happened to the whale, to keep your distance,” said Boothe.