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Rotting Whale Body Towed Into Pacific Ocean
The decomposing body of a whale that washed up on a Southern California beach has been removed, after frustrated homeowners paid to have it towed out to sea.
The 40ft (12.2-metre) body of a male fin whale turned up on the Malibu shore on Monday, not far from some of the state's most coveted residential properties.
Its rapid decomposition reportedly created a stench near homes owned by millionaires and celebrities, and drew crowds of curious beachcombers.
But a tug boat hired by a local homeowners association has now pulled the creature's remains into the Pacific Ocean 20 miles offshore, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Brian Riley said.
No government agency took action to remove the rotting 40,000lb (18,143kg) whale, and it had appeared the job would be left to Mother Nature.
James Respondek, an estate agent who lives in the area, had said he was frustrated that no official agency stepped up to 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."
The Fire Department's lifeguards patrol beaches in Malibu, but the homeowners' association did not take their offer to assist with the towing, Mr Riley said.
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 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 and found a gash on the young whale's back. Its spine was damaged, indicating it might have been hit by a ship.
The endangered fin whale is the second-largest animal in the world and can grow up to 85ft (26 metres), weigh up to 80 tons and live to be 90 years old.