WALDPORT, OR (KPTV) - A young humpback whale that has been stranded on a beach near Waldport for more than a day will be euthanized, according to officials.
The 20-foot whale was located Wednesday morning north of the Alsea River.
A team of students, volunteers and staff with the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OMMSN), Oregon Coast Aquarium, OSU Marine Mammal Institute, and OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center spent Wednesday providing comfort and care to the whale by digging out around it and keeping it wet.
Officials said the whale managed to briefly swim free during high-tide on but became stranded again. After another high tide shortly after midnight Thursday, the whale remained stranded.
“The whale is definitely a fighter. Several times it was facing the ocean and working its way closer, as well as rolling toward the ocean,” said Tricia Howe, Oregon Coast Aquarium Operations Manager. “However, when it stopped to rest, the powerful waves pushed it back up on the sand. Due to the extremely high tide last night, it is now even closer to the dunes.”
Members of the team stayed on site overnight.
Contractors from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were on scene Thursday morning to assess the whale.
Officials said they determined the best thing to do was to euthanize the animal.
After the whale is euthanized, officials will perform an onsite necropsy. The carcass will then be moved to a designated location and buried.
Anyone who finds a stranded marine mammal should report it immediately to 541-270-6830. Marine mammals, including carcasses, are protected by federal law and must be left untouched and given 150 feet of space in all directions.
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