Posted by: The ocean update | November 3, 2015

Blue whale carcass draws crowd to Ophir beach (Oregon, USA)

The decaying body of a blue whale washed ashore Monday near the Ophir rest area about 7 miles north of Gold Beach. Photo by Randy Robbins.

The decaying body of a blue whale washed ashore Monday near the Ophir rest area about 7 miles north of Gold Beach. Photo by Randy Robbins.

November 3rd, 2015 (Randy Robbins). A large, dead blue whale measuring approximately 80 feet and weighing nearly 20 tons made landfall in Ophir, about 7 miles north of Gold Beach on Monday, according to Russ Stauf, Rogue Watershed manager.

The rare beaching attracted a crowd all day Tuesday, with motorists parking along Highway 101 at the Ophir rest stop, some walking across the sand for a closer look.

The stench of the large marine mammal was oppressive from more than 100 yards away. That didn’t stop a group of preschool children, including one child who was clutching a furry Orca whale toy, from trekking along a winding path to the beach to see the whale up close. They were joined by a woman who stood inside the curl of the huge, upright tail.

Stauf said, based on his study of shark bites on the whale inflicted after it died, the animal had likely been dead for a few days and came ashore after weekend storms brought in a tidal surge.

Stauf said there were no plans to move or dispose of the whale. Instead, nature would be allowed to take its course.

Some scientists think that whales become disoriented and get too close to shore, running aground, and aren’t able to free themselves, leading to their demise. Some believe beachings occur when a very sick or weak whale no longer has the energy to stay afloat.

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