MALIBU (CBSLA) –Officials said a large and dead Pacific gray whale washed ashore in Malibu Sunday morning.
This comes after the carcass of a gray whale was discovered off Hermosa Beach on March 18, and a live gray whale was also spotted in Marina del Rey that same day. The marine mammals are in the midst of their annual spring migration from Baja California all the way north to Alaska.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold reported from the scene and said it’s hard to do justice to the size of the animal.
“This is something you have to see to really get a sense of its size,” she reported.
The whale — about a year old — came ashore near the county line, bringing with it crowds of people, curious to see the majestic creature up close.
“I honestly didn’t even know they got this big and some lady just told me it is a year old, I cannot believe how big they get,” said Haddy Shelton.
But with the curiosity also came sadness for some — why did the whale die? How did it end up washed up on the beach?
“I was wondering if it died naturally or if it died from a boat because it looked like he had a lot of cuts on it and that could have been from an engine or something,” said Davenport Milgalter.
“Obviously I wonder how it died, how old it was. But it’s just sad,” said Maddison Morales.
Questions researchers at the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute are also trying to answer.
“I really don’t know. There’s evidence of boat damage but that could have happened after the fact, so that will be up to the sedation research unit to determine the cause of death,” says Ron Barrett, of the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute
Authorities say gray whales are migrating by our coast from Mexico to Alaska right now with hundreds of whales just off shore. They say mom and baby whales will soon start their migration north so boaters need to be careful and give them space. The same goes for the whale now in its final resting place on the beach.
“All this week I’ve seen whales coming up and down the coast so it makes you a little sad. I [decided to] bring the little guy out to check it out,” said Jesse Levin.
Experts say since they’re not sure how the whale died, it’s best to keep your distance. They’re planning a necropsy for Monday to hopefully get some answers.
Authorities have no plans to move the whale, instead they’re going to let nature dispose of the body.
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