Home > Klamath River > Klamath Whale beached

Klamath Whale beached

UPDATE II: The Associated Press is reporting the whale died around 4am.

UPDATE: As of around 3:30 Tuesday morning the whale is “free and by the bridge.”

ORIGINAL POST: The gray whale in the Klamath River has either beached herself or became stuck while heading down river, according to reports.

“Scientists are asking people not to go see the whale in the Klamath tonight as they want her to be surrounded by as much calm as possible,” said Daily Triplicate reporter Megan Hansen via Twitter.

Photographer Ashala Taylor has been reporting on the situation on her blog wrote Monday night that the whale “floated down the river towards the ocean and is now caught on a sand bar and low tide.”

  1. Cristina Bauss
    August 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Does anyone know what time this happened, and what might happen when the tide comes in?

  2. August 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Ashala guesses it happened about 6:30 Monday evening.

    I have the same question about the tide, and whether she deliberately beached herself or is simply stuck in a shallow area.

  3. 06em
    August 16, 2011 at 6:09 am

    There was a high tide at 1:27 am, so maybe she is already free and gone. Low tide for Klamath Mouth this morning is 7:48 am (at 0.15 meters almost a minus tide) and next high tide is 2:09 pm.

  4. Delerious Duck
    August 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

    If humans were so willing to interfere by playing terrible sounds, banging pots and buzzing her in boats…etc, can we not assist her now that she’s trying to get out? Or is it hands off now that she’s trying to head out to sea? Seems ridiculous to me. Lets help her get home.

  5. Decline To State
    August 16, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Heraldo, that link on the above posting “Booooooom, etc.” tried to install malware on my computer! It should be removed immediately.

  6. August 16, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Comment deleted. That was a first. I don’t recall a malware link ever getting past the spam filter. Sorry, folks.

  7. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Any current info?

  8. August 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

    If you can track down a copy of the Daily Triplicate there might be something new there but even that news would be several hours old.

  9. August 16, 2011 at 8:44 am
  10. August 16, 2011 at 9:10 am

    In a conflicting report, the AP says the whale died around 4:00 this morning.

  11. Toby
    August 16, 2011 at 9:12 am

    This is arkleys fault!

  12. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

    If you cannot get a copy of the Daily Triplicate, go to triplicate.com

  13. August 16, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I did but it hasn’t been updated since Aug. 12.

  14. skippy
    August 16, 2011 at 9:38 am


  15. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 9:43 am

    The AP story seems most likely with the quotes from Sarah Wilkin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and photographer Ashala Tylor, who said, “I stayed until about 2 a.m. this morning and she was swimming around the bridge,” Tylor said Tuesday. “When I came back this morning she was on her side as dead as can be. I was shocked when I saw her.”

    So sad.

  16. Seageezer
    August 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

    The Eye of the Whale
    Homero Aridjis

    ” and God created the great whales….”
    Genesis, 1:21

    And there in San Igancio Lagoon
    God created the great whales
    and each creature that moves
    on the shadowy thighs of the waters.

    God created dolphin and the sea lion,
    blue heron and green turtle,
    white pelican, golden eagle
    and double crested cormorant.

    And God said unto the whales:
    ‘Be fruitful and multiply
    in acts of love that are visible
    on the surface

    only through a bubble
    of a fin, flapping,
    while the cow is seized on the long
    prehensile penis below;

    there is no splendour greater than a grey
    when the light turns it silver.
    Its bottomless breath is
    an exhalation.’

    And God saw that love
    between the whales
    and the sporting with their calves
    in the magical lagoon was good.

    And God said :
    ‘Seven whales together
    make up a procession.
    One hundred, a daybreak’.

    And the whales came up
    to spot God over
    the dancing gunnels of the waters
    and God was signed by a whale’s eye.

    And whales filled
    the waters of the earth.
    And the evening and the morning
    were the fifth day.

    From El ojo de la ballena/The eye of the whale (2001)
    Translated from Spanish by: George McWhirter
    Homero Aridjis: Eyes to see otherwise

  17. Cristina Bauss
    August 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Beautiful, Seageezer. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Scott
    August 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    “Scientists are asking people not to go see the whale in the Klamath tonight as they want her to be surrounded by as much calm as possible,”
    Why didn’t they try this the previous 50+ days she was in the river? Or at least enforce the rules. Absolutely no respect for the whale or law requiring people to stay 100 yards away. Sad.

  19. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    We are truly sad. We were fortunate to have seen this beautiful creature; we mourn Mama’s loss.
    Diane and Lorne

  20. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Some of the older Yuroks believed that she had entered the river to die.

  21. Decline To State
    August 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    She will be missed.

  22. Bolithio
    August 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    A cause of death will be determined in a necropsy after researchers move the marine mammal.

    According to this:

    Can you determine “died of old age” in an necropsy? Another thing Ive wondered is if the instinct for whales and other ocean mammals to beach themselves when death is close is connected to the billion-year old pursuit of leaving the sea to become terrestrial.

  23. Rick Khamsi
    August 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Well-meaning humans, lacking whale-knowledge, used human-knowledge to irritate and harass the momma whale (believing all the while that they were “helping” her) while she was attending to her business of healing or of preparing herself for death.

    Thank the forces of nature (call them God if you wish) that they seem to have found a little humility and have started showing some respect for the intelligence of this magnificent being.

    If we could understand her motivations for doing what she did, we might become a more intelligent and kindly force on this planet. How we can do that, I am not sure. I believe we can start to do it by abandoning the idea of using jet-skis and loud music to force a solution to a problem that we perceive that may simply be the choice of a member of another life-form to deal with the inevitability of death. A choice, which we, as mortals, ought to respect.

    I am not a member of an indiginous tribe. I am a queer individual. I was called such in my youth, before “I butched up” so I could get a job and survive in the then-hostile social climate of the North Coast. Being queer helps me question the wisdom of “the common knowledge.” I always hated to hear about lynchings in our nation’s history or anywhere on earth. I also hate to hear about people doing the wrong thing for what they mistakenly think are the right reasons. This orientation as an outsider, which I never asked for, helps me have sympathy for other outsiders, like a momma whale in a river. Life has taught me respect, also, for people who do their best to help others, like this momma whale, even when their actions are not informed by accurate knowledge.

    A friend of mine advised me this summer to be easy on myself and to be easy on others. I find it hard to follow his advice. If my words seem disrespectful or hurtful, I am sorry for that. This post expresses what I have been feeling but not sharing. As much as anything, I am trying to take responsibility (too late) for not expressing these opinions while they might have done momma whale some good, given her some peace and quiet.

  24. High Finance
    August 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Nonsense. An animal is just an animal and it went up there by accident. Or perhaps you could point out the thousands of other whales that go up river to die all the time ?

    Other accidental whale incursions up river have ended more happily when they were helped out to sea.

  25. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Why would you think she died of old age since she just weaned a calf Bolithio?

  26. Not A Native
    August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Bolithio you’re as ignorant of evolution as you are about the harmful effects of logging in the forest.

    You assert a bogus concept of ‘the billion-year(sic) old pursuit of leaving the sea to become terrestrial’

    Established scientific fact is whales, dolphins, and porpoises are descendants of land mammals, based on extensive evidence.

    Whatever Bolithio’s ideas are about evolution, they clearly don’t have an academic source, any more than his ideas about forestry. And his loose use of terms like ‘terrestrial’ and ‘billion-year old’ shows he’s putting on airs, trying to impersonate someone educated.

  27. Lynn
    August 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Anonymous 2:14 Nice words. I believe she came up the river to die in
    “peace” also. Sharks would have been all over her if they sensed her
    weakness. I only wish it had been a little more peaceful for her. Boats,
    noisemakers, and killer whale sounds were not so good.

  28. Bolithio
    August 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Established scientific fact is whales, dolphins, and porpoises are descendants of land mammals, based on extensive evidence.

    Wow, i didnt know that! Thanks.

    Why are you so quick to attack people with mean comments NAN? Is the purpose of blogging to exchange ideas or be a dick? You get the troll award on this thread!

  29. Looking on
    August 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Sorry, Bolithio, the troll award goes to HI Fi. NAN cannot hold a candle to his efforts.

  30. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Why are people rushing to judgement when the autopsy hasn’t been performed yet? There was no evidence of disease in the pre-death tests they did and she recently gave birth and nursed a calf so couldn’t have been old. Blaming people for trying to save her life by scaring her back into the ocean is ridiculous.

  31. tra
    August 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I have a hard time believing that she went up the river “by accident.”

    Ihave a hard time believing that a whale can’t tell the difference between fresh water and salt water, and the difference between an ocean current and the strong flow of a sizeable river like the Klamath.

    I have no idea why she swam up the river, or why she hung around by the bridge for so long, but the idea that she did so “accidentally” does strike me as rather unlikely.

    But I’m not a marine biologist, nor an expert on marine mammals, so I’ll be interested in what those who have studied these things have to say about what happened..

  32. Goldie
    August 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    We do not know about whales. We hardly know how to take care of ourselves. We can be a very sorry bunch at times.
    Good bye big sweet whale. We did not know. We still don’t know.

  33. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    High Finance is proof that there many ignorant humans with ugly souls. Maybe next time anything like this happens there will be new rules about letting an animal be alone. Rules that will be enforced. To not harass wildlife. Being that Whales have sensitive sonar for navigation, people should behave differently if this happens again. The circus that was allowed to surround this wonderful living being is a disgrace.

  34. Guest
    August 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    The whale came to tell us that the (klamath) river is dying.

  35. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Consider this about the whale… whales are intelligent creatures. Maybe she knew she was dying and didn’t want to beach herself knowing that her calf would follow. Maybe that’s why she went into the river allowing her calf to swim back into the ocean.

  36. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I don’t believe whales ever beach themselves deliberately.

  37. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Dr. Bruce Mate, Director of the Endowed Marine Mammal Program at Oregon State University, who has been studying marine
    mammals for 31 years says:

    Seals, sea lions, and fur seals frequently come ashore when they are sick, where they can rest, recover, and save themselves.

    This strategy, on the other hand, misfires for whales. Often, says Mate, we find sick whales ashore, who may have beached themselves to avoid drowning. Before they can recover, though, gravity pools their blood or they overheat enough to cause irreversible tissue damage. They die soon-even if people push them back into the water.

  38. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Seals, sea lions and fur seals come on shore frequently sick or healthy. “May” have beached themselves means it’s a theory. They also “may” have accidentally beached themselves because their equilibrium and navigation abilities are screwed up from being sick.

  39. SmokeMonster
    August 17, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Our fellow humans die daily.

    We act like we care about whales,dolphins and the like while mankind has destroyed the ocean.sunken boats/planes leaking fluids/oils, oil spill,mile long floating plastic trash islands,industrial waste being dumped straight into the ocean all over the world,and Japan flushing nuclear pools into the Ocean.

  40. Jenny
    August 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I took my son to see the whales, assuming he would never be able to see such a sight again..up so close. For whatever reason, the whale mother went up the river. I would guess that she had a natural reason for doing so. Let’s be grateful that the calf returned to the sea. Is anyone tracking the calf?

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