Experts studying dead whale

City News Service

Lifeguards assist with the removal. Photo: NBCSanDiego.com


Whale experts were examining a pregnant, 67-foot fin whale that washed up dead near the mouth to San Diego Bay after towing it to Fiesta Island for a necropsy Wednesday.

San Diego Lifeguards towed the carcass about 6.5 miles from near the Point Loma Waste Treatment Plant, where it washed up Saturday, to Fiesta Island in Mission Bay, lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan said.

NBCSanDiego.com reported Wednesday afternoon that “billionaire Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin companies, is helping foot the bill for the removal … ” See their coverage at www.nbcsandiego.com.

“Everything went according to plan this morning … (but) I can honestly tell you the lifeguards were struggling with the enormity of the whale,” said San Diego lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan. “It was a struggle to get it in.”

Parks and Recreation equipment was used to drag the whale, which could weigh up to a ton per foot, onto the beach, where the examination was expected last until about sunset, Buchanan said.

The remains of the whale will disposed in the open ocean on Friday, he said.

Officials said the whale had not been dead long when it washed up sometime before 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and a roughly 5-foot fetus apparently was expelled by bloating about two days after the mother died.

The fetus was examined Tuesday, but it was unclear if the baby was ready to be delivered. Buchanan said the fetus was gone this morning, speculating it may have been taken away by the tide.

Fin whales, found in oceans all over the world, were nicknamed the “greyhound of the sea” because they can swim as fast as 23 mph, are the second-largest species of whale and can grow up to 75 feet and weigh 70 tons, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Taking fin whales, prized for their oil, was largely banned by 1976. North Pacific fin whales off the California and Oregon coasts are estimated to number around 2,500.

Related posts:

  1. Dead whale being towed to Fiesta Island
  2. Thousands fill church to salute slain officer
  3. Warm weather brings beachgoers, rescues
  4. Lightner announces lifeguards restored at Black’s Beach
  5. First burials held at new Miramar National Cemetery

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=55144

Posted by Staff on Nov 23, 2011. Filed under Featured Story, News, Region. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Experts studying dead whale”

  1. Seal Team 6

    they should bury it on the beach, just like they do with seals at Children's Pool.

    • James

      I believe the seals buried at the CP are buried by locals who get tired of them not being washed away by the tides. I'm pretty sure it would take some heavy lifting equipment to bury a fin whale.

      • David

        No James, I am sorry your wrong, all of the seals that have been buried at the CP have been from the city of San Diego's Lifeguards after many of days of complaints by locals who have endeared the stench of rotting seals. It is illegal for other than city staff to touch a seal weather it is alive or dead. Seals are born and they die on this beach it is the circle of life. That was also why the city was sued for breach of trust… How could you have a SAFE place for children to swim when you have rotting seals on and buried on this beach? But now since the trust have been amended for , "A Marine Mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children". Thanks Senator Kristen Kehoe and APRL's Bryan Pease's seal activist and the city of San Diego's lobbing efforts.

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