SEVERE WX : Freeze Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Whale stranded on Oregon coast euthanized after rescue efforts fail

A coalition of rescuers tried to keep a young humpback whale alive after it washed ashore north of the Alsea River near Waldport early Wednesday morning.

Posted: Aug 15, 2019 10:23 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2019 1:36 PM

WALDPORT, Ore. —

UPDATE: A young humpback whale stranded near Waldport has been euthanized, according to Oregon State Parks.

"Stranding specialists on the team consulted with colleagues nationwide and determined euthanizing it was the only humane option," the agency said. "The team also considered trying to move the animal closer to the water or give high tides another chance, but neither alternative was deemed feasible."

Specialists with a team from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network euthanized the whale with an injection around midday on Thursday.

Volunteers and experts had tried several times to get the whale back into the ocean during successive high tides since Wednesday morning, but the whale was continually washed back into shore — coming to rest even further up the beach. In the meantime, they tried to keep the whale comfortable and relieve its stress.

(Updated 8/15/19 at 1:30 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: A coalition of rescuers are trying to keep a young humpback whale alive after it washed ashore north of the Alsea River near Waldport early Wednesday morning.

"A team organized by the Oregon State University-based Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OMMSN) responded to the report early Wednesday morning and coordinated an all-day effort to relieve the animal’s stress while waiting high tide," the Oregon Parks Department said. "After two high tides — one mid-day Wednesday and one shortly after midnight Thursday — the whale remains stranded."

Now the rescuers are trying to buy the 20-foot cetacean time while they mull a difficult decision — waiting for more high tides, finding another way to get the whale back into the ocean, or euthanasia.

"The evaluation process will take several hours," Oregon Parks said.

By Thursday morning, the effort included students, volunteers, and staff from multiple aquariums or university marine biology programs, all trying to comfort the stranded whale by digging underneath it while keeping it wet.

"During the Wednesday high tide, the whale managed to swim free briefly before stranding itself again. Members of the team stayed on site most of the night," Oregon Parks said.

“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.”

The humpback whale has been listed as endangered in the U.S. since 1973. Oregon Coast Aquarium said that they are distinguished from gray whales by their dark color and long pectoral fins, and individuals can be identified by their unique tail fluke patterns.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320990

Reported Deaths: 3682
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52083644
Washington35615280
Marion33366399
Clackamas27185275
Lane24597256
Jackson21336267
Deschutes17215104
Umatilla13006129
Douglas10969202
Linn1083488
Josephine8772173
Yamhill7704101
Klamath666493
Polk642172
Malheur494667
Benton474228
Coos436272
Columbia333539
Jefferson325747
Lincoln283430
Union280938
Wasco248139
Crook220639
Clatsop217526
Tillamook185123
Baker180524
Morrow170721
Curry168617
Hood River165835
Harney88318
Grant8678
Lake7418
Wallowa54012
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4680552

Reported Deaths: 68599
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145417226013
Riverside3600584843
San Diego3543914051
San Bernardino3490475540
Orange3162215384
Sacramento1516592138
Santa Clara1411661844
Fresno1373871927
Kern1369321532
Alameda1168001333
San Joaquin983511628
Ventura982921134
Contra Costa96331924
Stanislaus814771256
Tulare74142898
San Mateo52540612
San Francisco52328615
Monterey49733567
Solano44452312
Santa Barbara43353505
Merced39734546
Sonoma39609384
Placer37033367
Imperial34462755
Kings30419293
San Luis Obispo28582318
Madera22042263
Butte21781236
Shasta21374290
Santa Cruz20255214
Yolo19359239
Marin17200242
El Dorado16194130
Sutter13228154
Napa1235295
Yuba937161
Nevada856885
Tehama843786
Humboldt843093
San Benito711470
Mendocino698476
Lassen653027
Tuolumne623393
Lake613592
Amador498859
Glenn407530
Siskiyou406241
Calaveras351170
Del Norte342035
Colusa293918
Inyo168539
Mono15145
Plumas12676
Mariposa102713
Trinity74310
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1370
Alpine1010
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Brookings
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 59°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 59°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 66°
Cloudy, cool, and damp Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events