Rotting whale stagnates stars' beach

Last updated 13:39 07/12/2012
Whale
LUCY NICHOLSON/ Reuters
ROTTING: A dead whale leaves an awkward stench on a private beach in Malibu.

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A whale carcass rotting near celebrity homes in Malibu is causing a gigantic cleanup problem as authorities try to decide who’s responsible for getting rid of it.

Los Angeles County lifeguards planned to try to pull the 18,143kg carcass out to sea, perhaps at high tide Thursday (local time), said Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center.

However, that may be too much of a job, county fire Inspector Brian Riley said.

‘‘Our lifeguards think this probably exceeds our capabilities,’’ he told City News Service.

‘‘You would need a tug boat to drag it out to sea.’’

The city was not sure who would do the job, spokeswoman Olivia Damavandi said.

The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors was not responsible for disposing of the more than 14m body, said Carol Baker, who represents the agency.

‘‘It’s on a private beach’’ controlled by homeowners down to the high tide line and the state is responsible for the tidelands, Baker said.

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

The whale may have been hit by a ship and had a gash to its back and a damaged spine, according to results of a necropsy conducted Tuesday (local time) by the wildlife centre.

‘‘It’s relatively common for it to happen, it’s really unfortunate,’’ Reyes said.

Such accidents have become more common as increased numbers of migrating blue, fin and humpback whales swim to California’s shore to feast on shrimp-like krill.

Fin whales are endangered and about 2300 live along the West Coast.

They are the second-largest species of whale after blue whales and can grow up to 26m, weigh up to 80 tons and live to be 90 years old.

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- AP

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