A dead sperm whale washed ashore in Oregon on Saturday in what officials are calling an unusual sight for this time of year.
Sightseers visited the coast to catch a glimpse of the massive creature at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria.
“It’s a little alarming, but it’s nature, so it’s interesting,” visitor Kay Schilliam told FOX12 Oregon.
NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein told the station that the sperm whale was fully grown, measuring 40 to 50 feet in length.
“It is a bit unusual to see a sperm whale here this time of year, so that’ll be one of the questions you know, we’re asking,” Milstein said. “Does this help us understand the population and distribution of sperm whales off the West Coast?”
Officials said the carcass exhibited multiple gashes and are investigating what caused the whale’s death.
Authorities warned visitors not to touch the marine mammal because the carcass could spread diseases to humans and pets.
The marine mammal carcass is one of many to wash up on U.S. shores in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, a 21-foot female orca carcass washed up on a beach in Palm Coast, Florida. Officials said the whale’s death was likely due to “various illnesses.”
Further up the East Coast in New York and New Jersey, seven dead whales have washed ashore in the span of a little over a month. These whale deaths were also under investigation.
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