A whale entered the Klamath River on Wednesday afternoon, causing many onlookers to wonder how long the giant mammal might stay — at least until it left an hour later.
Boaters on the Klamath River estuary photograph a gray whale on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Yurok Environmental Program's Merle Stevenson
Arnold Nova, a fisheries technician for the Yurok Tribe Fisheries Program, said that the animal, which appeared to be a gray whale, was reported to have entered the Klamath River estuary around 1:30 p.m. and left around 2:20 p.m.
A large gray whale, called MaMa by locals, entered the Klamath River with her calf in June 2011, creating national media attention. The calf returned to the Pacific Ocean after four weeks, but the mother remained in the freshwater river, which ultimately weakened the whale’s skin, allowing a fungus to get into her body and kill her.
The 45-foot gray whale was buried in a ceremony held by the Yurok Tribe.