Seabirds aren’t the only animals that wash up on the beach. On Saturday, a fin whale washed ashore a Puget Sound COASST beach! The animal was found in Seahurst Park in Burien, Washington. The carcass was torn in half and had red paint on it, suggesting that a ship struck the whale several days to a week ago. It has drawn crowds to Seahurst Park, coming to get up close and personal with the second-largest animal in the world, despite the health risks and the stench.
Aquaria, museums, and zoos will sometimes collect skeletons from beached whales for educational purposes, but this specimen is incomplete–only the first 52 feet of the 65-foot animal washed up on shore. No one has expressed interest in the remains, leaving the city of Burien with the challenge of disposing of the carcass. The process is estimated to cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Fin whales can grow up to 75 feet and are the second largest whale after the blue whale. A federally endangered species, fin whales are usually only found in the deep ocean. The only time these whales enter Puget Sound is on the bow of a ship. This is the eighth fin whale carcass showing evidence of a ship strike to appear in Washington in the last ten years. Ship strikes are an emerging problem for large whale species up and down the West Coast.
More information can be found here.