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Whale Washes Ashore In Malibu

By Sam Catanzaro .

From San Diego and Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and San Francisco, major cities are commonplace along much of California’s coast. Amid the hustle and bustle of these metropolises, it is easy to forget the nature that exists in many residents’ backyards. Last week in Malibu, however, residents and beach goers got a visual and olfactory reminder of their proximity to wildlife when a young dead gray whale washed ashore at County Line Beach, greeting beach goers with the smell of decaying flesh.

“It smelled foul,” Cole Miller, a local actor who was surfing nearby, told the Santa Monica Mirror. “I had never seen a whale that close before, so I was in awe of how large it was compared to me. Other people poked at it, but I didn’t want to. There was dried, dirty blood oozing from its eyes and mouth. It was pretty gross, but amazing to see a creature like that right in front of me.”

Authorities believe the carcass washed ashore around 3 a.m. Sunday, March 24. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the whale is about 40-feet long, the size of a semi-truck. There are several gashes on the whale’s side, though it is still unclear how the whale died. More details will become available after Diane Alps, President of the Channel Island Marine and Wildlife Institute and her colleagues release information from a necropsy performed March 25. According to the CHP, authorities do not plan on removing the carcass of the whale and will instead let nature take its course and carry the body out to sea.

While experts were performing the necropsy on the 40-foot long mammal, rescue crews just up the coast in Oxnard spent Monday attempting to rescue another gray whale trapped in a buoy net near Channel Island Harbour. Spotted by passengers on a boat Sunday, responders Monday and Tuesday had a difficult time untangling the whale, which is around 20-feet long, due to the animal’s skittishness.

“Every time we tried to get close to it, the whale would get scared and dive underwater, taking the buoy with it,” Mark Barney, a spokesperson for the United States Coast Guard (USCG), told the Los Angeles Times.

According to Barney, because the whale kept swimming away, authorities have been unable to tell if the whale is injured, distressed or to what degree the animal is entangled. To help with the rescue, the USCG called in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for assistance.

Read more of this story at The Santa Monica Mirror

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