TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – Washington State Parks rangers will leave a dead gray whale to decay on the beach near Twin Harbors State Park after it washed ashore Tuesday.
The Olympian reports that in a statement, state parks officials said “Visitors can expect strong, unpleasant smells as the carcass rots over the summer months.”
Parks officials say 30-foot-long juvenile female, believed to be 1 to 2 years old, was healthy before dying of a traumatic injury.
The whale’s carcass, south of Westport in Grays Harbor County, is in the Washington state Seashore Conservation Area, which covers much of the state’s western coastline.
Experts advised State Parks officials to leave the body to decompose naturally so it could serve as a food source for other wildlife.
State Parks officials advise people not to take parts of the rotting whale because it’s a federal offense.