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Dead whale washes up at Bolsa Chica State Beach

Scientists from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach take samples and study an endangered fin whale.
Scientists from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach take samples and study an endangered fin whale that washed up at Bolsa Chica State Beach on Wednesday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

A 65-foot dead whale was found washed up on Bolsa Chica State Beach on Wednesday.

The female adult fin whale remains on the beach near Lifeguard Tower 17. California State Parks representative Kevin Pearsall said Thursday morning that it will likely take at least a couple of days before it is removed from the beach.

“We are going to remove it,” Pearsall said. “We’re not even going to bury it because it’s so big. It will be removed by a designated removal company that takes it to a landfill.”

Pearsall said the U.S. Navy and National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration were headed to Huntington Beach to investigate the whale that washed ashore.

Workers from Pacific Marine Mammal Center, located in Laguna Beach, also were on site Thursday to gather samples of the fin whale, which is an endangered species.

“It’s proving to be just a little bit difficult, just because the whale is pretty decomposed,” Pacific Marine Mammal Center public relations manager Krysta Higuchi said. “But we’re trying to take this sad incident and gather as much research and knowledge as we can, trying to get more metrics and life history of this animal. We don’t normally get this opportunity to get these types of samples from these animals.”

Scientists take samples and study an endangered fin whale that washed up at Bolsa Chica State Beach.
Scientists from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach take samples and study an endangered Fin whale that washed up at Bolsa Chica State Beach.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Higuchi said the whale is believed to be one of two — the mother of a mother and daughter pair — that was killed off the coast of San Diego by an Australian Royal Navy vessel on May 8.

After it was struck by the HMAS Sydney, the larger whale was subsequently towed offshore. Pacific Shore Expeditions reported that the carcass was being feasted on by blue sharks near San Clemente Island last week.

With the weekend approaching, Pearsall said he encourages beachgoers to stay away.

“It is incredibly retched smelling, because of its decomposing state,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of people lose it from the smell and vomit, so they need to be prepared and stay away from it. It’s been out to sea for a while now dead.”

Daily Pilot photo editor Raul Roa contributed to this story.

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