Authorities were responding on Saturday to a whale that beached near the Peter Iredale shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park.

Officials have determined what killed a 40-foot beached sperm whale spotted over the weekend in Fort Stevens State Park.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the whale was an adult male, about 20 years old, and generally healthy. Based on evidence of internal bleeding, a team that conducted a necropsy concluded the whale had been struck and killed by a ship.

Sperm whales’ typical lifespan is 70 years, but some may live longer, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The sperm whale is federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

News of beached whales in Oregon is inevitably greeted with jokes about dynamite, in reference to the infamous exploding whale incident of 1970, a bizarre and treasured piece of Oregon history.



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