UK & World News

  • 8 December 2012, 23:41

No Plans To Remove Whale Carcass From Beach

A 40-foot whale carcass that washed ashore on one of Southern California's most pristine beaches will not be removed by authorities, but will instead be left to rot until nature takes its course.

The 40,000-pound (18,143kg) male fin whale washed up in Malibu on Monday, not far from homes owned by singers Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan.

It has been attracting attention since its presence was first publicised, with curious beach walkers making their way to the narrow strip of sand where the creature rests.

The whale has largely decomposed over the last few days. White bones, rolls of blubber and the tail flukes trailing along the water's edge are all that remain.

James Respondek, a real estate agent who lives in the area, said he was frustrated that no official agency will remove the carcass.

He complained: "There seems to be no readiness to take responsibility, to take action, just a lot of excuses. 'I don't have a boat, I don't have the money, I don't have the resources,' they all told me."

Earlier in the week Los Angeles County lifeguards had talked about trying to pull the carcass out to sea, but that idea came to nothing.

County Fire Inspector Brian Riley had predicted that the task "probably exceeds our capabilities. You would need a tug boat to drag it out to sea".

Los Angeles spokeswoman Olivia Damavandialso said the city had no plans to remove the creature.

And Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbours spokeswoman Carol Baker said the department was not responsible for disposing of the whale because "it's on a private beach".

She pointed out that the beach is controlled by homeowners down to the high tide line and the state is responsible only for the "tidelands".

The California Wildlife Centre examined the carcass on Tuesday and found a gash on the young whale's back. Its spine was damaged, indicating it might have been hit by a ship.

Such accidents have become more common as increasing numbers of migrating blue, fin and humpback whales swim to California's shore to feast on krill.

The endangered fin whale is the second-largest animal in the world and can grow up to 85 feet (26 metres), weigh up to 80 tons and live to be 90 years old.

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