The dead gray whale that washed up on the beach near Grayland is being removed bone by bone and the owners of the Westport Aquarium say they could use help removing the remains — if you can stand the smell and “gore.”
Kathryn Myrsell, co-owner and co-director of the Westport Aquarium, said she and her husband, Marc, are removing the whale bit by bit because the state parks department, which has jurisdiction over the remains, was reluctant to have the carcass moved in a large vehicle across a dune to private land, where the owner had offered to let the body decay naturally.
“We got the head separated” and could use help loading it in the truck, Myrsell said. “It’s heavy.”
The 39-foot female whale was struck by a vessel, according to a preliminary necropsy. Westport Aquarium offered to take the skeleton to use it in an exhibit. The removal has been a “hands-on learning experience,” Myrsell said.
Cascadia Research, an organization that does whale research, also noted that the dead whale had a parasitic infection, so anyone who chips in with bone and body removal should wear protective gloves.
The aquarium offered the baleen to the Makah Nation, but has not heard back.
Workers have removed one flipper, ribs, and the scapula, Myrsell said, adding that they plan to ask parks for the use of a dumpster to deposit “the extra flesh.”
Myrsell said the process is taking longer than expected.
“If you are wondering, come on down and help and you’ll see why it takes so long,” she said in good humor. “The tongue is the size of a person. It’s slippery and hard to move.”