A beached whale sits stuck on the beach of the Samoa Peninsula on Oct. 23. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Beached Whale on Samoa Peninsula

Despite help from wildlife responders, the whale has died.
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Despite help from wildlife responders, the whale has died

A humpback whale was found washed ashore on the south end of the Samoa Peninsula early Wednesday morning.

Eureka resident Berkeley Kijsriopas was on her morning beach walk with her mother and found the whale. It appeared to be wrapped up in a large fish net.

The pair made a quick call to animal rescuers from HSU’s Marine Wildlife Care Center. Animal rescuers, including HSU’s Dawn Goley, were the first to arrive on the scene, followed by Samoa Peninsula Fire District and the National Oceanic and Aeronautic Administration.

Humboldt Wildlife Care Center staff rehabilitation Lucinda Adamson was at the scene to help keep people away from the whale as marine biologists worked through an effective plan to cut ties from the whale without harming it.

Locals gathered with their dogs on leashes and phones in hand as they tried to capture the moment without stressing the whale or the wildlife responders. 

“Those from NOAA here are working with people from around the country to figure out the best way to help the whale and keep the people safe,” Adamson said. “I’ve just been helping to get gear and people back to keep the whale’s stress down.”

Earlier today, there seemed to be no serious concerns that the whale may lose its life, but according to Goley and reporting by the Lost Coast Outpost, high tide isn’t until after 8 p.m. tonight and as time passes its chance of survival slims.

People will continue to work on getting the whale back out to the water as soon as possible, and despite high tide’s timing, there is a chance of the whale floating back out before then.

“They’ve been cutting some of the lines from him,” Adamson said. “But they’ve been doing a lot of assessments and just trying to get him back out there safely.” 

Update: The whale has successfully been disentangled, but rescuers are waiting for the tide to rise to ensure he gets back out in the water.

Update: The whale is still on Samoa beach, but it is alive. Goley remains on the scene, and has been accompanied by sheriff’s deputies and game wardens along with the marine mammal rescuers.

Update, Thursday 9 p.m.: The whale has died. Goley, along with members of the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center and the NOAA, conducted health assessments, determined the whale wouldn’t make it through yet another night out of the water and decided humane euthanasia was the whale’s best option.

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