The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 25, 2015, Image 10

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Investigation: ‘Every animal has a different story to tell’
places like them taken out of the
way or buried, while others leave
the animal where it washed up.
Chandler and Boothe personal-
ly like leaving the dead animals
out where they can be recycled
back into the food chain.
“There are a lot of eagles out
here that help clean these ani-
mals up,” Chandler said.
Continued from Page 1A
Another whale caused a stir
when Chandler and volunteers
transported a dead orca to Fort
Stevens State Park for a nec-
“I’ve never seen so many
rubbernecking people,” Chan-
dler said.
But when the truck driver
hauling the whale stopped for
a bathroom break in Warren-
ton, it really got some atten-
“All these people come run-
ning out of Buoy 9, Is it Willy?
Are you going to free him? Is
he alive?’ It’s hilarious,” Chan-
dler said. “Those are moments
you don’t forget.”
In the lab
A chance to recover
Many of the calls Chandler
receives pertain to live animals
on the beach. He emphasizes
keeping people away from ani-
mals so that the animals have a
chance to recover or letting na-
ture take its course.
“I’m not a big believer in
rehab,” Chandler said. “I think
Darwin is right. Survival of the
There is a misconception that
marine mammals like seals and
sea lions don’t belong on land
and must be sick or injured if
they’re out of the water, Chan-
dler said. These animals actually
may use the shore to rest, molt
or recover from injury or illness.
“We had a problem where
people would see seal pups on
the beach and they would actu-
ally bring them into us,” Boothe
said. “Like ‘save it!’ and it was
like ‘Oh, actually, you need to
put it back right where it was.’”
The harbor seal pups some-
times wait on land for their
mothers to return and collect
them. The pups are dependent
on their mothers for about a
month. The mother seal must
perceive the area as safe before
returning, so people and domes-
tic animals have to stay away.
“We don’t have those prob-
lems anymore. Very rarely do
we have someone bring a seal
in, just because everybody’s
more aware,” Chandler said.
“And they’re all well-meaning
people that do these things they
shouldn’t do because they want
to help the animal. And then
once they’re aware that that’s the
process the animal goes through
… the best thing you can do is
leave them alone, they actually
tell other people, so it works.”
They post signs around pin-
nipeds warning humans, and
their pets, to stay away and leave
the animals undisturbed. Marine
mammals can also transmit
some diseases, like leptospiro-
sis, a bacterial disease that can
cause kidney failure, to humans
and domestic animals. So stay-
ing at least 50 feet away is safer
for the marine mammals and
their terrestrial counterparts.
After receiving reports of
stranded animals, Chandler
must make a determination on
how to respond. If the animal is
sick or injured, he has to make
a choice of whether to euthanize
the animal or wait and see if the
Joshua Bessex/The Daily Astorian
People stop and watch as Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium’s administrative assistant, right, and research assistant
Dalin D’Alessandro, left, collect a feces sample from a sea lion corpse.
animal will recover. Usually,
they wait.
“People get — sometimes
get — upset with us for not put-
ting animals down, too,” Boothe
said. “We don’t because you
can’t know whether or not an
animal’s going to make it, and
that’s not really our call to make.
There are so many animals that
I’ve seen that I’m like, ‘that an-
imal’s going to be dead the next
day, he’s horrible.’ And then
they’ll leave the beach and we
don’t see them again.”
There are no rehabilitation
centers for marine mammals in
the Northwest.
“I’ve seen animals come
back from amazing things,”
Chandler said. That includes
shark bites and bouts of disease.
One group, the elephant
seals, can appear to be in the
process of dying while periodi-
cally undergoing a natural pro-
cess called “catastrophic molt,”
replacing their old skin and hair.
Chandler said there have been
instances of these animals be-
ing unnecessarily euthanized
during the process because they
seemed to be in so much pain.
“The process of molting
that they go through is horri-
ble,” Chandler said. Horrible,
and natural. “They smell, they
But sometimes, the animals
really are in trouble and do not
“We had a live whale wash
ashore, right out in front of the
Turnaround during the last phase
of the volleyball tournament,
and it was hot, and so you had
just tons of people on the beach
and you had this live beaked
whale thrashing in the surf,”
Boothe said. “But the beaked
whale was already dying, like
he was coming in because he
was dying, so he was doing all
these death throes and thrashes,
and then you had a hundred to
200 people in the water with this
Joshua Bessex/The Daily Astorian
Seaside Aquarium Manager Keith Chandler watches as
Tiffany Boothe, the administrative assistant at the Sea-
side Aquarium, and PSU research assistant Dalin D’Ales-
sandro, perform a necropsy on a sea lion corpse that
washed ashore on a Seaside beach.
animal trying to push it back in.”
“It was amazing that any-
body didn’t get killed,” Chan-
dler said.
Getting people out of the
water and out of danger was a
priority. There was nothing that
could be done for the whale.
Not a fan of necropsies
It wasn’t the worst thing
he’d ever smelled on the job,
but Chandler still tried to stand
upwind of a decaying Steller sea
lion corpse while Boothe and
Dalin D’Alessandro, got wrist-
deep in the animal’s body cavity.
Steller sea lions are listed
as endangered in their western
population, but not their east-
ern population, which enjoys
a range from southeast Alaska
to Northern California. Two
ropsy site on the Seaside beach,
just above the tide line with a
few hours to go until the water
reached them. An occasional
beachgoer passed by — mostly
upwind and away from the eau
de dead sea lion.
Maps: ‘We want to be able to head
this off before a map is produced’
Continued from Page 1A
The latest round of work
represents Phase 2 in an on-
going effort to show FEMA
the errors of its map-making
ways — namely, that FEMA’s
estimates regarding the wave
along the Columbia River are
North Coast communities.
“We want to be able to
head this off before a map is
produced,” Warrenton May-
or Mark Kujala said. “This
is the opportunity to make
this stage, and if we can’t get
it done now, then we actually
have to appeal the maps, and
we don’t want to get to that
Basically, Phase 1 involved
reconstructing FEMA’s model
and pointing out issues with
it, and Phase 2 will involve
showing FEMA how it may
change its methodology to re-
solve those issues.
As in Phase 1 — which
didn’t include the Port of As-
toria or Diking District No.
9 — Warrenton and the other
participating agen-
cies are consulting
with Coast & Har-
bor Engineering, a
monds, Wash.
Chandler is not a big fan of
necropsies himself. He stood
by offering assistance at arm’s
length and documented the
work with a digital camera.
Much of the body had been
heavily decomposed. By the
barnacles that had begun to
grow on the corpse and the level
of decay, D’Alessandro estimat-
ed the sea lion had been dead be-
tween three weeks and a month
before washing ashore.
Boothe and D’Alessandro
did what they could to determine
the subadult male sea lion’s fate
at the scene. Their hands gloved,
the two women searched for
parasites, tumors and hemor-
rhages. The intestines seemed
twisted — a sign of trauma.
Most of the tissues were too
far gone to collect, but they did
manage to get a stool sample
and the sea lion’s stomach.
After the beach necropsies,
D’Alessandro must make the
return drive to Portland.
“Usually on the drive home
you’re catching those random
whiffs,” she said. The contents
of her pickup truck bed appear
innocuous, squirreled away in
coolers or wrapped in plastic
bags. No hints to fellow drivers
that science has hit the road.
“Until they’re like, ‘What’s
that smell?’” D’Alessandro said.
What happens to the carcass
depends on the locality. Some
At Portland State University,
information from the necrop-
“Every animal has a different
story to tell,” she said.
netics of marine mammals and
teaches classes on marine mam-
mals at PSU. Coordinating with
the stranding network is an ex-
tension of her own interest.
“We’re trying really hard
to track potential diseases that
can be transmitted to domes-
tic animals or to humans,” she
said. She estimates they handle
between 140 and 190 cases an-
nually. This year has been busy.
The university is responsible
for the necropsies. They collect
all they can from the animals;
in some cases, they bring the
whole animal back to Portland.
They look for bullets, pellets
and other things that can give
clues as to how the animals died.
Often, they save the skeletons
to evaluate what kind of bones
show damage.
The bones are also used in
university museum exhibits and
student instruction.
of marine mammal strandings,
cidence of sea lion shootings in
the region.
“One of our real problems is
people don’t shoot them nicely,”
she said. “We see animals that
are gut shot, their intestines all
Shooting the animals is ille-
are going to do it, they should at
least be kind.
Fishermen and some conser-
vationists have complained that
sea lions are competing for salm-
on. But a lot of the animals Duff-
ield sees do not even have salm-
on in their stomachs, she said.
“It just makes me really
mad,” she said.
of Astoria involved
with the process.”
In fact, FEMA
asked the parties to
do the additional
work because the
Science on their
agency cannot af-
ford to do it them-
After Coast &
selves, Warrenton
Harbor reviewed
City Manager Kurt
Fritsch said. “We’re
FEMA concluded
doing their work for
“a lot of the issues that we them,” he said.
had found were, in fact, legiti-
mate,” said Collin Stelzig, the cost approximately $20,000,
lead engineer for the city of Phase 2 will cost up to
Warrenton, at an Astoria City $27,700. Diking District No.
Council meeting.
9 — a rural diking district on
FEMA, Stelzig said, seems the east side of the Lewis and
to agree with Coast & Har- Clark River — will contribute
bor’s assessment that more $500; the other four agen-
precise data is needed to pre- cies will split the remaining
dict the behavior of the Co- $27,200.
Kujala extended his grat-
areas in a way that “will rep- itude to Warrenton’s partners
resent our coast the way that for taking the extra measure to
we know it is.”
help Clatsop County residents
“We’ve got the science on and businesses avoid the bur-
our side, and that’s why FE- den of extraordinary hikes in
MA’s really buying in right ÀRRGLQVXUDQFHUDWHV
now and saying, ‘Well, you’re
“It is important for insur-
probably right,’” he said. ance payers throughout the
Stelzig added that “it’s made county to get this right, and
quite an impact with FEMA, that’s what we’re determined
having the county and the city to do,” he said.
Fou n d ed 1811 • In corp ora ted 1856
On Au gu s t 3 , 2015, the As to ria C ity C o u n c il a ppro ve d the fo llo w in g
re c o m m e n d a tio n s fo r V o lu n ta ry W a te r C o n s e rva tio n :
Check fa u cets a n d pipes fo r lea k s
A s m a ll d rip fro m a w o rn fa u cet w a s her ca n w a s te 20 ga llo n s o f w a ter p er d a y. L a rger lea ks
ca n w a s te hu n d red s o f ga llo n s .
Avo id u s in g the to ilet a s a n a s htra y o r w a s teb a s k et
E very tim e yo u flu s h a ciga rette b u tt, fa cia l tis s u e o r o ther s m a ll b it o f tra s h, five to s even
ga llo n s o f w a ter is w a s ted .
Check yo u r to ilets fo r lea k s
Pla ce a little fo o d co lo rin g in yo u r to ilet ta n k. If, w itho u t flu s hin g, the co lo r b egin s to a p p ea r i n
the b o w l w ithin 30 m in u tes , yo u ha ve a lea k tha t s ho u ld b e rep a ired . M o s t rep la cem en t p a rts
a re in exp en s ive a n d ea s y to in s ta ll.
In s ta ll w a ter-s a vin g s ho w er hea d s , lo w -flo w fa u cet a era to rs
In exp en s ive w a ter-s a vin g lo w -flo w s ho w er hea d s o r res tricto rs a re ea s y fo r the ho m eo w n er
to in s ta ll. Als o , lo n g, s ho w ers ca n u s e five to ten ga llo n s every u n n eed ed m in u te.
In s u la te yo u r ho t w a ter pipes
It is ea s y a n d in exp en s ive to in s u la te yo u r ho t w a ter p ip es w ith p re-s lit fo a m p ip e in s u la tio n .
Y o u w ill get ho t w a ter fa s ter p lu s a vo id w a s tin g w a ter w hile it hea ts u p .
Rin s e yo u r ra zo r in the s in k
F ill the s in k w ith a few in ches o f w a rm w a ter. T his w ill rin s e yo u r ra zo r ju s t a s w ell a s ru n n in g
w a ter, w ith fa r les s w a s te o f w a ter.
Us e yo u r d is hw a s her a n d clo thes w a s her fo r o n ly fu ll lo a d s
Au to m a tic d is hw a s hers a n d clo thes w a s hers s ho u ld b e fu lly lo a d ed fo r o p tim u m w a ter
co n s erva tio n . M o s t m a kers o f d is hw a s hin g s o a p reco m m en d n o t p re-rin s in g d is hes w hich is
a b ig w a ter s a vin gs . W ith clo thes w a s hers , a vo id the p erm a n en t p res s cycle, w hich u s es a n
a d d ed 20 liters (5 ga llo n s ) fo r the extra rin s e. F o r p a rtia l lo a d s , rem em b er to a d ju s t w a ter
levels to m a tch the s ize o f the lo a d . M in im ize u s e o f kitchen s in k ga rb a ge d is p o s a l u n its .
In -s in k ‘d is p o s a ls ’ req u ire s ign ifica n t a m o u n ts o f w a ter in o rd er to o p era te p ro p erly.
Co n s id er k eepin g a b o ttle o f d rin k in g w a ter in the frid ge
Ru n n in g ta p w a ter to co o l it o ff fo r d rin kin g w a ter ca n b e w a s tefu l. S to re d rin kin g w a ter in the
frid ge in a s a fe d rin kin g b o ttle.
Co n s id er lettin g yo u r la w n go d o rm a n t
Du rin g d ry s p ells , yo u ca n s to p w a terin g a lto gether a n d the la w n w ill go d o rm a n t. On ce co o ler
w ea ther a rrives , the m o rn in g d ew a n d ra in fa ll w ill b rin g the la w n b a ck to its u s u a l vigo r. T his
m a y res u lt in a b ro w n s u m m er la w n , b u t it s a ves a s ign ifica n t a m o u n t o f w a ter.
Avo id lettin g the ho s e ru n w hile w a s hin g yo u r ca r a n d u s in g a b ro o m in s tea d o f a ho s e
Clea n the ca r u s in g a p a il o f s o a p y w a ter. Us e the ho s e w ith a co n tro l n o zzle fo r rin s in g - this
s im p le p ra ctice ca n s a ve a s m u ch a s 150 ga llo n s w hen w a s hin g a ca r. Us e a b ro o m in s tea d o f
a ho s e to clea n s id ew a lks a n d d rivew a ys .