Fin Whale Raising a Stink on California Beach

B. McPherson
One of the leading causes of death to whales is passing ships.


An endangered fin whale has washed up on a beach near Los Angeles and is decomposing. The approximately 40 000 of whale is creating quite a smell as Mother Nature goes about recycling the whale.

The stink has people in the chi chi neighbourhood of Malibu asking for it to be removed.

No agency claims responsibility. It has rotted to the point that it cannot be dragged whole out to sea in any case. Suggestions that it be buried in sand would work, except that it is currently resting in a rocky area.

The juvenile cetacean is about 40 feet long. It has likely been struck by a boat as it is exhibiting wounds to its back and a damaged spine. Large vessels are one of the leading causes of death to whales around the world. Only about 2300 fin whales are resident off the California coast.

California has made great efforts in the past few years to clean up its coastal waters and the result has been a resurgence of a favorite whale food – krill. Krill are small crustaceans that look a little like miniature shrimp. Fin, humpback and blue whales are returning to the coast lured by the prospect of abundant food.

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