On Thursday, April 9, 2009, a fresh dead adult female gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) was found on the beach at Washburn State Park, just north of Heceta Head. She was extremely emaciated, and there was no evident trauma to the body. Her posture, lying belly-down flat on the sand, suggests that she died on the beach or in shallow water soon before she was reported to the stranding network. We suspect the immediate cause of death was starvation.
View map of the stranding location
A necropsy was conducted immediately and tissue samples were collected and submitted to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine in Corvallis. Pathology results determined the whale had ovarian cancer.
The carcass was buried on site by the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation on Friday, April 10.