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Dead seal continues to ‘reek’ along PCH in Malibu

A dead seal continues to stink up Pacific Coast Highway and its nearby Malibu beachfront as officials have spent days working out exactly what to do with it.

Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said the agency was told Tuesday that a dead seal had been dragged onto a storm drain near the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Corral Canyon Road.

Wonder said the agency was informed Wednesday that is was illegal to remove a dead animal and that they needed to first contact the California Academy of Sciences Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy.

“We’ve turned it over to the department of Ornithology and Mammalogy, and we assume they’re taking over,” she said.

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Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler added,: “At this point, our involvement is to wait and see what other people decide to do.”

Multiple phone calls to the academy to check the status of their work were not immediately returned.

Malibu spokeswoman Sandi Turner said the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors has been notified about the rotting carcass.

Meanwhile, longtime resident Joe Blaine said a mark across the seal’s back seems to indicate that it was dragged to its present location on Caltrans property. He estimated that the seal is 1,000 pounds, 8 feet long and eight feet around.

“It reeks,” he said. “The flies and insects and maggots are tearing it down.”

Unfortunately for those in the general vicinity of the warming carcass, the seal has created a jurisdictional problem.

Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the agency did not have “a warden or a biologist that’s anywhere nearby.” He said he planned to ask local law enforcement officials “or someone to get it off the road and arrange some kind of storage.”

“We’re not able to respond right away,” he said, “but we’ll work throughout the afternoon to find a resolution that satisfies everybody.”

The dead seal marks at least the second time in seven months that a decomposing sea mammal has been left in Malibu for days because of inaction by government agencies.

In December, a 40-foot fin whale remained on the beach for days before the rotting carcass was quietly pulled out to sea by a private tugboat hired by Malibu residents.

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matt.stevens@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattStevensLAT


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