Dead Endangered Whale Washed up on California Shore to Be Dumped in Landfill

The body of an endangered whale that washed up on a southern California beach will be disposed of in a landfill. It is thought the whale is the same one that was found beneath an Australian navy ship earlier in May.

The female fin whale was found on Bolsa Chica State Beach, Orange County, on Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported. It was unclear how large the whale was, as The Los Angeles Times reported it was 65-feet-long, while The OC Register reported it was 58-foot.

Kevin Pearsall of California State Parks told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the whale would be removed in a couple of days.

He said: "We're not even going to bury it because it's so big. It will be removed by a designated removal company that takes it to a landfill."

There are a number of ways to deal with the carcass of a beached whale, including composting, taking it out to sea, or burying it on the beach.

Pearsall told The OC Register the whale had decomposed so much that towing it out to sea was no longer possible as it would "fall apart." Generally, members of the public often do not like whales to be buried at the beach due to the smell, he said.

The U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are due to investigate, Pearsall said. Newsweek has contacted California State Park, NOAA and the U.S. Navy.

Justin Greenman, assistant stranding coordinator of the NOAA, told The OC Register the whale is believed to be the same animal that was found dead under an Australian navy vessel earlier in May, alongside a younger whale.

On May 8, two fin whales became dislodged after the destroyer HMAS Sydney berthed at Naval Base San Diego, where it was completing joint exercise with the U.S. Navy.

At the time, experts told Newsweek it was likely the whales were a mother and her calf. Fin whales are considered endangered, with vessel strikes among their biggest threats.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a research associate at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County who is a whale expert, told The OC Register the NOAA has been monitoring the whale since it was originally taken to sea.

Surfer Jen Garza was among those to see the beached whale. She told The OC Register some of her friend's boards were oily after surfing due to the liquid the whale was giving off. "The whale was coming apart, the intestines were out," she said. "It looked like a building down there. It looked so big in person."

fin whale california, getty
A stock image shows a fin whale blowing off the California coast. Getty Images