Oregon Coast

Researchers hope to raise whale carcass from Yaquina Bay

NEWPORT, Ore. (KOIN) --- Oregon State University researchers are hoping to raise a blue whale carcass from Yaquina Bay for an educational display.

The blue whale has been submerged for the past two years where scientists placed it after it washed ashore near Gold Beach in November 2015. Researchers wanted scavengers to clean the bones and then remove the skeleton and put it on display. 

Researchers say the whale is gigantic and removing and preserving the bones will require an immense amount of work. A small school bus could fit inside the whale's mouth. 

“It’s an adult male and 78 feet long," Mate said. "The scale of them are pretty amazing: by the time they are 4-to-5 years old they are indistinguishable."

In order to preserve the skeleton, the oil will need to be cleaned from the bones. This process, according to researchers, will cost $125,000. Without it, the bones become rancid and smell. 

"We have to get the fat out of all the bones and oil is stored in the bones and blubber and that takes chemical extraction," Mate said, "and if we don’t do that it will seep out and smell awful and look awful."

Getting funding will be tricky, explained Bruce Mate with Oregon State University.

"This sort of thing -- skeletal articulation - isn't on anybody's radar, either federal or state agencies," he said. "So I'm afraid we're going to have to turn to a private philanthropy."

Mate is hoping the display will be up at the OSU marine studies building for a long time, starting in late 2019.

"While we go to the coast to play, other mammals out there also being playful but they have to live out there," Mate said. "So there is good news messages and educational value into thinking how these animals make a living and how they relate to us."

How you can help

From the Marine Mammal Institute: 

People can write a check payable to the OSU Foundation and designate "Blue whale articulation". Checks can be sent to:

Marine Mammal Institute
Hatfield Marine Science Center
Newport, OR 97365

You can go on the website and click "Make a Gift"  or call: 541-867-0202 

Click here for more information.


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