Stranded humpback at Grayland will be allowed to decay naturally

The carcass of a humpback whale found stranded on Grayland Beach will be allowed to decay naturally, Dyanna Lambourn, marine research biologist for the state Department of Fish &Wildlife said last week.

The whale is the third juvenile found on Twin Harbors beaches in less than a year, she said. It is hard to say why they are stranding, just that all three have been juveniles, she said. The other two were found in late winter and late spring.

A necropsy of the more than 30-foot humpback determined there were recent wounds and lacerations on the tail stock and fluke, “more of the entanglement” type, she said. The damage could have been done by nets, fencing or ropes, for example, she said.

The sex of the whale could not be determined. Tissue samples were taken for further diagnostics, which could take a couple of months, she said.

The department will monitor the decay with state parks, which is responsible for the stretch of beach where the whale was found Aug. 17.

Experts from Olympia-based Cascadia Research, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Westport Aquarium helped with the necropsy. Stranding coordinator Jennifer Olson, from the Whale Museum, also participated, Lambourn said.