Dead Fin Whale Washes Ashore [Video]

Members of the California Wildlife Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles examine the 40-foot whale at Little Dume in Malibu.

A 40-foot dead Fin whale, possibly the victim of a boat strike, washed up on Little Dume Monday.

The male, which was a young adult, was found about 11 a.m. Monday, according to Jeff Hall of the California Wildlife Center.

The whale was likely killed in the past few days and is mostly intact, with a large bump on its back.

"It could be gas or it could be swollen from being hit by something," said Cindy Reyes, executive director at the California Wildlife Center. The exact cause of death will not be determined until a necropsy is performed, she said.

Reyes said that a necropsy could take place as early as Tuesday if researches from Santa Barbara Natural History Museum decide to come down. The California Wildlife Center has the ability to perform the necropsy, but larger organizations often have more resources, she said.

"This is much bigger than just us because so little is known about these animals," Reyes said. "It's nice when a bunch of different agencies work together."

Dave Janiger, a curatorial assistant at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, came down to take samples of parasites from the whale and help take measurements.

"I haven't seen one this fresh in a long time," Janiger said. He said Fin whales are fairly common at this time of year.

"There's a lot of them down in Long Beach right now," Janiger said.

The whale was wedged between rocks on the beach, and will likely be difficult to remove, Reyes said, adding that she will be calling the L.A. County lifeguards to see if they can tow it out to sea.

"I don't know how we're going to get it out," Reyes said.

Gary Wilcox, a longtime Malibu resident who arrived at the beach on his paddle-board, said he has often seen whales while surfing off Point Dume.

"What a shame. It's a beautiful animal. We see them out there all the time. They pass by and they blow," Wilcox said.

Mari Stanley, who lives up the street, said she was glad that researchers will be able to glean information from the whale.

"This is the first one I've seen that's not been out there for a long period of time," Stanley said.

She said if the cause of death is from a boat strike, it would be her "worst fears being confirmed."

"It's like a hit and run. You have to feel that," Stanley said.

julie December 04, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Tami Lyyn December 04, 2012 at 01:50 AM
This is so sad.
Marshall Thompson December 04, 2012 at 02:10 AM
The ocean teems with life and each life must end, eventually. Rejoice! L'chaim! Live! What a beautiful creature, what a beautiful world. Let's not screw it up, peeps!
Susan Tellem December 04, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Probably a damn panga running without lights and smuggling.
Marshall Thompson December 04, 2012 at 03:30 AM
A real possibility, sadly.
Angela Cancilla Herschel December 04, 2012 at 03:59 AM
As a long time volunteer of California Wildlife Center tomorrow I will be there .....no guys...you never get used to it.
J. Flo December 04, 2012 at 04:49 AM
I agree - :((
Clay of the North December 04, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Are you for real Susan ? a Panga ? do you know what a whale would do to a Panga ? What SHOULD happen is the meat salvaged, and given to disadvantaged children in the SFV or Perhaps Inglewood ? The meat is packed with nutrition and is very tasty .Ive had it many times, its better than any Prime Filet going Its a Yin and Yang thing
Saltwater December 04, 2012 at 02:50 PM
That's an odd thing to say. Why disadvantaged children in the SFV? And you have dined on cetacean many times? I can't imagine what is Zen about eating whale.
John December 04, 2012 at 05:31 PM
You can't feed a whale that has been dead for a few days to people especially because we don't know why it died... duh.
gary c. atwood December 04, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I declare drag it out a few miles and let the white sharks feed on it instead of the seals or mistakenly the humans surfing!
D. Smith December 05, 2012 at 01:09 AM
If it was hit by a boat, it could be that it was in the shipping lanes. The Great Whale Conservancy has a campaign going to get the shipping lanes moved out further from shore. If you're interested in learning more about whales & boat strikes, check out The Great Whale Conservancy online.
Frank Nielsen December 05, 2012 at 06:57 AM
LACFD will usually tow dead whales out to sea or a towing company will be hired. The tides are not looking good for this until the weekend when higher tides return to the area. Things may get stinky in the next few days. Watch out for white sharks attracted to the area from the oil/chum slick this whale is producing if you are using the water. A few years ago another whale was washed ashore in Oxnard. The boat hired to tow the whale out was attacked by an adult white shark when the boat started to tow the whale away. The tow was aborted and the damaged boat returned to port for repairs.
James Respondek December 06, 2012 at 06:58 AM
i spoke with Craig Sap ,a head person at State Parks and to the City. Thanks in part to Brad Davis bringing the matter to the attention of the appropriate people, a team is supposedly being assembled to tow away the carcass tomorrow. Hopefully this happens before it is too decomposed. Apparently a lady stopped Harbors and Beaches today from starting the process saying it was "on private property" and she wanted to leave it as a "lesson". Any private party starts at the mean high tide line...and not sure what the "lesson might be except maybe in stupidity. Good luck to the team and to the whales.
Paul Amaral December 06, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I was the one operating the boat that was bitten back in 2008. We have done several of these over the years and are available to handle this one if there is a responsible party willing to pay our fee. Paul Amaral, Owner of Channel Watch Marine / Vessel Assist Ventura. 805-644-2762
King Kong Ding Dong December 06, 2012 at 06:36 PM
This has to be one of the funniest comments I have ever read. Thank you. I imagine the poor, starving, and malnourished children of both the SFV and Inglewood would be gracious for your gifts of whale meat.
jeisun willis December 07, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Today I feel sadness for this young males pod. Then remember how grateful I am to live in a country that is full of good people with follow through. Another reason to be pruod to have a president that loves the ocean. A bodysurfer no les that has joined withe other ocean lovers to save precious great things like the whales an sharks. Then it scares me when I think that when these {dinasours} are lost, so are we. An yes the funniest thing I've heard in sometime!! Please sir, my I have another serving if the week old warm aged fin whale? I'm not the brightest.... but really?
Nadja Adolf December 08, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Some years ago when I was living back home in Oregon, we had a whale wash up on the coast. It was sufficiently rancid that efforts to tow it out to sea failed as the flukes and back pulled right out. Someone came up with the idea of using dynamite. It was great; all of us who understood that whale blubber is fairly unsaturated headed up the cliffs and watched from above. The TV reporters were slammed with rancid whale meat, and some poor tourist from the Midwest had his car crushed by a ton or so of flying blubber. The only thing worse than a several ton rotting dead whale on the beach is several tons of scattered rotting dead whale on the beach. The tourists that summer abandoned their dogs right and left, leaving the locals to deal with them. It seems that Fido is significantly less loved after rolling in rotting whale carcass and is not allowed back in the family car.


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