One of the greatest things about living in the Pacific Northwest are the whales. Unfortunately, 5 gray whales have been found stranded on beaches this month alone. While the number sounds high, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that 5-7 stranded whales are about average during the period of northern migration.
Most of the whales don’t die on the beach, but while they are in deep seas and then they wash up to the coast. The whales are not usually left in the location where they are found; the bones are often used for scientific or educational purposes, while the carcasses are disposed of. Gray whale carcasses are not toxic, but Orcas are, so the remains of each kind of whale have to be handled differently. Whales on private beaches are often allowed to “decompose naturally”.
On April 15th, a Gray whale washed up on a West Seattle beach- the whale is now located at an undisclosed location. Highline Community College’s Marine Science and Technology Center plans to re-assemble the whale bones into a full skeleton in order to make a hanging display.
Pic of Stranded Whale from