Battle Over Beached Whale Removal in Malibu

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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.

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