KVAL, Nov 9, 2015 (emphasis added): The 78-foot long blue whale that washed up on the Oregon Coast is the first in more than a century, researchers from the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute said… It’s still unclear how the whale died, but [Bruce Mate from the OSU Marine Mammal Institute] said one clue is it’s size: it weighed less than 100 tons, which is more typical for blue whales. “It eats things that are no longer than 2 inches long: krill. And that’s why this animal is probably on the beach because that’s been in short supply last summer and again this summer,” Mate said.
The Register-Guard, Nov 7, 2015: The massive marine mammal is very rare in Oregon, a state natural resources specialist said. “We don’t usually see blue whales this close in,” said Calum Stevenson, ocean shores specialist with the state Parks and Recreation Department. “They are not even on our radar for Whale Watch because they are so uncommon… The blubber layer was emaciated — 4 inches or less,” compared with up to 12 inches in a healthy blue whale, Stevenson said.
NY Daily News, Nov 8, 2015: A rare blue whale washed up along the Oregon coast… 100 tons and measuring 78 feet long… Blue whales are the largest animals to inhabit the Earth and are considered an endangered species… The appearance of a whale of this size is unprecedented in the area…
OPB, Nov 5, 2015: Bruce Mate, who serves as marine mammal director at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, said this is the first time he’s seen a blue whale on Oregon beaches. He’s been doing research in the state since 1968… Mate said the environment may have also played a role… Mate described the whale as emaciated and said it had a “very sick blubber layer.”
KOIN, Nov 6, 2015: Blue whales generally stay away from the coast, making the event extremely rare. They feed solely on krill, Bruce Mate, the marine mammal director at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, tells KOIN. “I think we are going to see more of this,” he says. Most of the whales Mate has been tracking for the past two years have not been doing well.
9 News, Nov 9, 2015: This specimen was in rough shape and may have been malnourished [with] pitifully thin blubber.
KDRV transcript, Nov 6, 2015: “The very first blue whale to wash up on the Oregon coast… Animal experts say they are still looking into the cause of death… they do say many sea creatures are being affected by weather patterns rights now… [it] is killing off the krill population, which is what these animals eat.”
Curry Coastal Pilot, Nov 10, 2015: The organs are being removed by Mate’s team and taken back to the lab in Newport to be studied… “The whale was very emaciated when it washed up” [Calum Stevenson of Oregon Parks and Recreation] said. “We don’t know what killed it — warming water from El Nino, disease, who knows.”
Published: November 12th, 2015 at 11:59 am ET
- 13 baby gray whales and 55 dolphins found dead on West Coast — “Rash of dead humpback whales in Oregon” — “Corpses of sea lions, birds, sea turtles decomposing” — Mysterious deaths probed by gov’t — “Fear for whales encountering ‘radiation hot spots’…Volunteers trained about dangers of radiation” (VIDEO) April 3, 2015
- Scientists mystified by unusual strandings of large sea creatures on West Coast — TV: “In 3 weeks, 5 dead whales have now beached along the Northern California coast” — “It’s totally something new, something strange”… “This is kind of eerie, what are the odds of two dead whales in same place?” (VIDEO) May 11, 2015
- TV: US scientists testing for radiation in dead whales as mysterious die-off in Pacific continues — Now 14 carcasses reported, expert warns “death toll could still rise” — “Whales may have consumed something toxic… trying to find an explanation for this unusual event” (VIDEO) July 12, 2015
- Experts: 100% death rate for baby killer whales along West Coast — ‘Alarm bells ring’ as no newborns have survived in past 3 years — “This is absolutely the worst thing possible”, pregnant orca dies with decomposing stillborn full-term fetus inside — “We’re going to lose them… they’ll be extinct for sure” (VIDEO) December 10, 2014
- Killer whales dying along Pacific coast — “Very sick, emaciated” — Population at lowest level in decades — Steep decline began after 2011 — No babies born in past 2 years — Alarming changes in behavior observed; Social structure is ‘splintering’ (PHOTO) September 5, 2014