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Dead Whale Washes Up in Malibu

caoursel-picA dead 40-foot fin whale washed up between Paradise Cove and Point Dume in Malibu on Monday.

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whale-picMALIBU, Calif. (KTLA) — A rotting whale carcass was pulled out to sea Saturday by a private tugboat hired by Malibu residents who were sick of the smell, officials said.

The 40-foot fin whale washed ashore at Little Dume Beach on Monday, already dead. It had suffered a wound to the back, possibly from a collision with a boat.

In the subsequent days, the surf and the wind eroded the carcass, as officials bickered about whose responsibility it was to dispose of the dead animal.

The city of Malibu had assumed Los Angeles County officials would remove the whale, but the county said Little Dume is a private beach, and therefore not their responsibility.

Other Malibu officials said the state might take care of it, but the nearest state property appeared to be nearly a mile away.

Finally, a local homeowners association stepped in and hired a tugboat to move the carcass on Saturday night.

The tug towed the carcass some 20 miles offshore –- far enough that the remains are not expected to reappear, Fire Inspector Brian Riley said.

He said he could not provide the names of the homeowners association or the private company.

Previously, state and local officials said they weren’t sure they could accomplish the feat before higher tides arrived over the weekend.

They had also considered burying the whale or carving it into chunks and setting it afire.

Malibu residents soon began complaining that the stench had filled the area surrounding Little Dume, the small beach between Paradise Cove and Point Dume State Beach.

By late Thursday, a state official said authorities had decided towing the carcass to sea was no longer feasible because it would break apart.

Fin whales, the second largest behind blue whales, can grow to be about 85 feet. It’s estimated that about 2,300 live off the coast of California.

They are baleen whales, meaning they use sieve-like structures in their mouths to filter food from the water.

A dead 40-foot fin whale that washed up between Paradise Cove and Point Dume in Malibu on Monday may continue to rot on the beach indefinitely.

whalepictureMALIBU, Calif. (KTLA) — A whale carcass is rotting near homes in Malibu, and the clean-up is presenting all kinds of problems.

The 40-foot fin whale is believed to have been struck by a boat. It washed ashore onto the rocks Monday between Paradise Cove and Point Dume.

Since then, the surf and wind have eroded the carcass, and officials have cut out portions of the mammal to determine how it died.

There’s now a question over who’s responsible for getting rid of the carcass.

The city of Malibu assumed the county would remove the dead whale, but the county said Little Dume is a private beach, and therefore not their responsibility.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Little Dume is not private.

Other Malibu officials said the state might take care of it, but the nearest state property appeared to be nearly a mile away.

The jurisdictional issues aren’t the only problem in removing the whale, however. Towing the carcass to sea is no longer an option because decomposition has set in.

“It’ll just break apart and make a big mess,” said Roy Stearns, a spokesman for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Officials say it could be a few more days before the remains are removed from the beach.

Fin whales, the second largest behind blue whales, can grow to be about 85 feet. It’s estimated that about 2,300 live off the coast of California.

They are baleen whales, meaning they use sieve-like structures in their mouths to filter food from the water.

Local News
12/06/12

Whale Carcass in Malibu May Be Towed To Sea

A dead 40-foot fin whale washed up between Paradise Cove and Point Dume in Malibu on Monday — possibly the victim of a boat strike.

whale-pic

Courtesy: Malibu Patch

MALIBU, Calif. (KTLA) — A dead 40-foot fin whale washed up between Paradise Cove and Point Dume in Malibu on Monday — possibly the victim of a boat strike.

The male whale, which was a young adult, was found around 11 a.m., according to the California Wildlife Center.

Marine experts at the Wildlife Center performed a necropsy on Tuesday. Among the whale’s injuries were a gash to its back and vertebrae damage.

Officials had planned to tow the carcass out to sea at high tide around 1 p.m. Wednesday, but the window of opportunity passed.

The next two high tides were expected at 3:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

State Fish and Game officials are helping the Wildlife Center coordinate the effort, which may require a tug boat.

Fin whales, the second largest behind blue whales, can grow to be about 85 feet. It’s estimated that about 2,300 live off the coast of California.

They are baleen whales, meaning they use sieve-like structures in their mouths to filter food from the water.

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