A look at the dead-whale-on-a-beach dilemma

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm •  Published: December 6, 2012
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After a dead whale washed up on a beach in Malibu, Calif., near Bob Dylan's home it wasn't long before a foul smell was blowin' in the wind and residents were demanding answers. Although dead whales don't often arrive in wealthy neighborhoods, they do come ashore on beaches across the country fairly frequently. Getting rid of them is often not easy.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR GETTING RID OF A DEAD WHALE?

In this case there is disagreement, because the 41-foot mammal ended up on a private beach. Malibu officials say they aren't sure who should haul it away. The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors says it isn't responsible because the whale is on private property, meaning it's up to the owners to get rid of it.

CAN LOS ANGELES COUNTY LIFEGUARDS HAUL IT AWAY?

Maybe, but that agency says it may big too big for one of its Baywatch boats to handle. They say it could require a tugboat like those used to guide giant ships in and out of ocean harbors. The lifeguards have indicated they'll try when the tide is right.

WHY DO WHALES WASH UP ON BEACHES?

Experts say some simply die of natural causes. Others become ill. Some seem to have gotten confused and lost their way. This one, a young fin whale, appears to have been hit by a ship because its spine was damaged and its back contained a large gash. A 47-foot whale found dead on a beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore suffered a similar fate in June.