It seems several marine animals washed up ashore on the Oregon coast this weekend, and what caused their deaths has not been identified yet. The humpback whale, two striped dolphins and a harbor porpoise were all found lifeless on the beaches.
The first to be found on January 30 near Fort Stevens State Park was a harbor porpoise, followed by two striped dolphins: one ended up on Cannon Beach and the other in Washington, more precisely in Ocean Park. The next day, people found a juvenile humpback about 24 feet long on Seaside beach. Lastly, a striped dolphin washed up on the same beach on February 1, quite close to the previously mentioned humpback whale.
Marine biologists are all currently trying to identify the cause of the untimely demise of the creatures. The necropsy started yesterday, February 2. Until we will have some explanations, people have already started to voice their opinions. For instance, one theory states that the deaths might be related to each other. Seaside Aquarium general manager Keith Chandler suggested that an aggressive storm might have led to a coastal flood which could have killed the creatures.
The theory is believable because all marine animals look as if they have been dead for quite some time, and their bodies have been slowly brought to the shore by the waves of the ocean.
However, others are more inclined to believe that the dolphins were trapped into fishing gear and died after the humpback whale. But the theories do not end here. Portland State University and Marine Stranding Network researchers from Oregon are taking into consideration other factors that could have led to the marine animals’ deaths.
For example, since the creatures do not present any serious wounds, they might have been killed by various diseases. Diseases that can be transmitted to domestic pets or even humans. In this case, the carcass of the humpback whale was moved to an isolated part of the beach as a measure of precaution. An orange mesh fence was placed all around it, along with several signs of warning stating that no one should approach or touch the dead creature. However, people also need to pay close attention to their pets, whose curiosity might not keep them away from the whale carcass.
After several marine animals washed up ashore on the Oregon coast, their tissues will be collected for a closer analysis at Portland State University. The necropsy will hopefully solve the mystery of their deaths.
Image Source: Long Island Press