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Remains of dead humpback whale return to shore at Oswald West State Park

Sept. 20, 2015

Arch Cape OR -- The remains of a 38' dead humpback whale that came ashore near Arch Cape over the weekend washed back out with the high tide, only to return today two miles south at Short Sand Beach inside Oswald West State Park (http://bit.ly/oswaldwest). State park staff will be on the beach at 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25, to present interpretive talks.

The twice-daily high tides predicted over the next few weeks are not expected to be high enough to take it back out to sea, though it is still possible for it to wash out. The interpretive presentations will happen on the beach whether the whale washes out or not. Researchers will continue to have access if they need to collect more tissue.

The bodies of marine mammals and other animals are a natural part of the ocean shore. On busy beaches in the heat of summer, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department staff normally bury large mammals if they are on busy beaches and reachable with excavation equipment. In this case, where temperatures are cool and visitors are fewer, it will be left to decay naturally. Scavengers and microorganisms will consume and recycle the tissue over the course of several weeks.

Researchers have the required federal permits to collect tissue from dead whales. All other visitors are encouraged to come see the humpback, but are not allowed to take any pieces and are discouraged from touching it. When visiting, keep pets away from the corpse, and keep an eye on the ocean for safety's sake.

The interpretive presentation and parking at Oswald West are both free. Park at the North Short Sand Trailhead on US Highway 101, and follow the trail signs from the parking area to Short Sand Beach, then walk north.

Downloadable file: Dead humpback whale at Short Sand Beach, Oswald West State Park, Tillamook County
Downloadable file: Dead humpback whale at Short Sand Beach, Oswald West State Park, Tillamook County
Downloadable file: Dead humpback whale at Short Sand Beach, Oswald West State Park, Tillamook County