Mama Whale now in River More than 50 Days

Hospitality not lacking as whale’s Klamath River stay reaches 50 days

By: Pete Thomas,

If the large female gray whalethat has now resided in Northern California’s Klamath River for 50 days ever decides to leave, who knows what memories she’ll take.

Because of the peculiar cast of supporters she has attracted, they could include the rhythmic beat of native drums, courtesy of the Yurok Tribe; the reading of prayer, or harmonious tunes strummed on a ukulele by a man on a stand-up paddleboard.

The whale and her calf made headlines after they were first seen inside the river on June 23, having taken a right turn into the waterway instead of continuing north from Mexico’s nursing grounds to Arctic home waters. The whale is presently 3-4 miles upriver, just below the California-Oregon border, beneath the Highway 101 bridge.

Marine mammal experts, working with the Yurok Tribe, tried several methods — mostly after the calf swam out of the river two weeks ago — to persuade the mother to leave. These included banging on pipes, spraying water cannon and broadcasting the sounds of killer whales.