Fin Whale Died of Injuries From Boat Strike

Researchers determine a cause of death of a 40-foot Fin whale that washed ashore in Malibu earlier this week.

A juvenile 40-foot male Fin whale that washed up on a Malibu beach died of injuries from a boat strike, according to preliminary necropsy results.

The necropsy, which is the term for an autopsy performed on an animal, was performed late Tuesday afternoon, Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center, said in an email to Malibu Patch.

"The traumatic injury that we discovered is consistent with a ship strike," Reyes said. "We have taken a number of tissue samples to send in for analysis as well so we will know more when those come back."

The Fin whale was discovered about 11 a.m. Monday at Little Dume, which is among the more exclusive beaches in Malibu. Reyes and others initially observed a large bump on the whale's back, but a necropsy was required to determine if the swelling was from gases or traumatic injuries from a ship strike.

The whale is wedged between rocks on the beach, and will likely be difficult to remove, Reyes said earlier in the week. It will be up to the Los Angeles County Lifeguards to decide if they will be able to tow the decomposing whale out to sea.

Fin whales, which are endangered, are fairly common at this time of year off the coast of California. They grow in length to 75 to 80 feet and can live for up to 80 to 90 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The port of Long Beach is among the busiest ports on the West Coast. NOAA scientists have been tracking where shipping lanes and whale movements overlap.

MALIBU PREMIER PROPERTIES December 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM
This tragic cause of dealth must be avoided in the future. If LNG had been permitted to ship in Liquid Natural Gas, just imagine how many whale deaths from ship strikes would be happening today.
randy Holland December 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM
This poor creature that washed up on our shore, a reminder of the deep, mysterious energies that we humans often forget, has been desecrated, left with its guts sliced open to rot upon the beach, spilling blood and viscera out to sea. It smells toxic now this poor whale, is gawked at and reviled, no longer the creature of wonder. Why was it eviserated? Why wasn't it just towed back out ten miles to decompose with honor? Now it's here on the shore drawing sharks. (Randy Holland)
Hans Laetz December 05, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Decompose with honor?
Linda Vallejo December 05, 2012 at 05:40 PM
This is indeed tragic because they are magnificent creatures. However, I always find it amazing that Malibu seems to be more concerned about the environment and creatures than preventive measures regarding our youth. What am I referring to? The issue earlier this year regarding porn in the library being funded with our taxes. The Council blew that issue off. A minor gets exposed to pornography and a predator in the library and it's no big deal. A whale has a tragic ending or a ten-headed frog is endangered and the voices and rallies come out. Don't believe me - go back and research the issue. I still haven't gotten over the order of priorities in this town.
David Paul Dominguez December 05, 2012 at 10:06 PM
It was obvious a boat struck it and killed it, why was is so desecrated and still left out to rot like that. It should have been treated with dignity and towed out to sea. That is part of protection as well, protection of being humiliated by scientist who obviously just wanted to rip in to another being for the sake of science. Duh, it was hit by a boat. That is not rocket science, I am sure they would not leave their relatives to the same situation. That is a relative of all of us and I for one am putting it out there to save the whales from this horrendous crime of humanity.
James Respondek December 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
James Respondek As a homeowner, surfer and parent of a 8 year old who swims right there on the beach, I am deeply concerned of the health and safety to all that venture to the beach and waters. I spoke with the local lifeguards who stated it may not be in their jurisdiction to remove the whale nor do they have the resources and asked "who is going to pay for it" and didn’t seem to share my concern. I also spoke to the Calif Wildlife Center whose primary concern was in the scientific value from the necropsy which has created a gigantic chumming effect which could attract some large sharks. This frankly that baffle's me that there wasn't a plan for the proper disposing of the poor animal as to avoid the danger of attracting sharks and the potential of other health issues from a decomposing animal of that size. I also have a call into the state parks and city but have not heard back. The numbers of these agencies are: County lifeguard 310-457-2525 State Parks 951-443-2969 Calif. Wildlife Center 310-924-7256 Perhaps anyone else who has any concerns may also want to call.
Laura December 06, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Nobody wants to take ownership of the whale now that the "science" is done because of the cost to tow it out to sea. $$$$$
hellwood December 06, 2012 at 04:40 AM
we could drag it back out to sea and make a panga jump out of it, and catch sunken smugglers ...or we could install a ballast to keep it upright, screw some cones into the top of it so boats can avoid it, and a bell and a strobe would be nice in the evenings. then, after a few more boats hit it and some sharks tag it, it will wash up on the beach in santa monica, and they can deal with it. Actually...I heard the world was ending in a couple weeks, so why bother. For science, we could let it rot in peace, and see if this beach gets an F rating from FIB's. So...Is there really going to be a paddle out for the whale funeral?
Terry December 06, 2012 at 04:42 PM
james respondek is correct in his comments. the biggest bad here is the shark tank off paradise cove every summer. do people think these sharks dont come back to malibu. its just a matter of time until malibu gets a real shark wake up call. the city counsel needs to do what is nessary to get the shark tank eliminated off paradise cove now.
bob haaga December 06, 2012 at 06:32 PM
If its a private beach the beach owners are responsible
M Stanley December 06, 2012 at 08:41 PM
In the surf Bob Haaga, not on a private beach. It's definitely out of any boundaries of private property ownership by a good, wide stretch of land and actually sits in the newly established Marine Life Protected Area which is squarely under the Federal Government control. This is how the Fed "protects" it's own pristine, specially protected lands??? Repeal the MLPA if this is the standard reaction, what if this was a freighter full of pollutant fuels and carrying additional toxins in it's cargo load?
Hans Laetz December 06, 2012 at 09:56 PM
The MLPA is a state land, and the whale is on state tidelands. And yes, a whale dying in an MLPA is part of the circle of life, dear reader. It is not a freighter full of anything, which would draw federal cleanup resources like ... well ... flies on a dead whale. it's absolutely comical watching this unfold. The city blames the county. The county says its not ours, it's the state's. The state says we don't have a boat. The lifeguards say not us -- our boat's too small. The residents blame the feds. I'm surprised the Ballona Institute hasn't filed a lawsuit. Here's an idea: why don't the people who enjoy this stretch of California property as what they consider to be a private beach form a GHAD (Ginormous Heavy Animal Disposal) unit? They could have it towed to Manhattan Beach by the boat tow guy.
Ted December 07, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Re: a homeowner, surfer and parent of a 8 year old who swims right there on the beach".... Yada yada yada. This guy is more concerned over he and his family's safety. SAFETY?? Tipical Malibu "local". Selfish. Don't worry man, when your home value declines even more, it won't be because of an innocent whale or a ship carrying more shoes or video games to your family. It'll be because of who you voted for.
Jacko December 07, 2012 at 05:48 PM
They could try this! http://www.kval.com/news/local/107530948.html
jamie p December 10, 2012 at 01:37 AM
From DFG website: "Disposal of dead marine mammals is considered a 'take' under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, and must be reported to NMFS. Additionally, it is unlawful to take or possess parts of dead marine mammals without prior authorization from National Marine Fisheries Service." obviously some people have the resorces to get what they want. sure wish i could fund my own "take" privelige back! I think a marine reserve that is protected to such a degree that they ask people not to beach kayaks., because it'll kill sand crabs, ought to then accept mother natures bounty of nutrients from dead whales regardless of how unpleasant that may be. After all these MPAs were argued to be "nurseries". A natural gift of so much nutrients in one location is rare for the local marine community and any sharks it may attract is just part of the circle of life therein. like in the old days chumash would gather bones as tools and decoration.. some other parts probably used for other porposes. people and children learned from the viewing and all would pay great respect. what i saw was not much different in the past week.. there was more talk over the excitement than the burden. i saw people from out of town and local families walking down two or three times just to see the progress. so who are the ones that selfishly decided that their consuption was enough and made the decision to terminate what was most natural and respected?
jamie p December 10, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Luhui Waiya "As a community it might be a good idea to think together rather than apart. In this modern world, we are often pushed to think as individuals rather than the collective. We end up thinking what is best for me rather than what is best for the whole," she said.


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