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40,000-pound whale carcass decomposing near Malibu beach homes

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A 40,000-pound whale likely killed by a ship was decomposing near the Malibu beach homes of Hollywood celebrities on Thursday, as officials tried to figure out what to do with the carcass -- and the stench.


"It's not physically capable of being moved because of its condition," Kevin Marble of the L.A. County Lifeguards, told Malibu Patch. "It's so embedded in sand that they won't be able to get it out. The body will be pulled apart."

The juvenile fin whale's carcass was found Monday morning and vets with the California Wildlife Center later determined it had died from injuries consistent with a ship strike.


Burying the 40-foot-long carcass could be an option, Marble said, but it would have to be moved since it now sits in a rocky area.

"It has to be exhumed and moved and buried," he added.

California State Parks has also been involved in the talks but did not have an immediate plan.

Nick Ut / AP

The remains of a fin whale that washed ashore last Monday are seen Thursday on a beach in Malibu. Calif.

"We don’t have a boat. We don’t have the resources to drag it off the beach," parks spokesman Craig Sap told Malibu Patch.

NBCLosAngeles.com reported that agencies were trying to figure out who was responsible for dealing with the carcass. A City of Malibu spokeswoman said removal plans had not been finalized, it added.

The L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors said it was not responsible. 

"It's on a private beach" controlled by homeowners down to the high tide line and the state is responsible for the tidelands, spokeswoman Carol Baker told the Associated Press.

The whale washed up between Paradise Cove and Point Dume, near the homes of Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan.

Biologists say krill are thriving in cleaner waters off the coast of California attracting more blue whales. KNBC's Michelle Valles reports.

Residents who got up close to the whale included Mari Stanley, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.

"It's a beautiful beast," she said. "It just looked like someone had picked it up and dropped it on the beach."

Fin whales are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. They can grow to up to 85 feet, weigh up to 80 tons and live for up to 90 years.

The West Coast population of fin whales was estimated at around 2,500 in 2003, down from nearly 3,300 in 1996, the federal government says.

Incredible images taken by retired biology instructor Bill Bouton of a small pod of humpback whales lunge-feeding off the coast of California have gone viral.

Key threats to the species are ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, less prey due to overfishing, habitat degradation and disturbance from low-frequency noises.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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