A plan is being developed to remove a 40-foot beached whale that is rotting on Little Dume, one of Malibu's most exclusive beaches, according to Los Angeles County Lifeguards.
"It’s not physically capable of being moved because of its condition. It’s so embedded in sand that they won’t be able to get it out. The body will be pulled apart. There’s no way to pull it," Zuma Beach-based Rescue Boat Capt. Kevin Marble said in an interview with Malibu Patch.
The juvenile male Fin whale washed ashore on Monday at Little Dume in Malibu, and a necropsy, the term for an autopsy performed on an animal, took place Tuesday. Researchers determined that the whale had died in the past few days from injuries resulting from a ship strike, according to the California Wildlife Center.
Marble said that several agencies, including California State Parks, the City of Malibu and the county lifeguards, were working together to come up with a plan.
"It looks like it ended up in one of those locations that is so isolated and so difficult to access both from the beach side and from the water side that the solutions are not easy," Marble said.
He said that burial is likely the only option, but that may not be possible because of the rocky nature of the beach. The beach is private, but the whale is located below the mean high tide line, meaning it is on public property.
"If it can be done. It is so rocky. Are you going to be able to dig underground? You can’t tow it with a boat. You can’t tow it with any other vehicle. It has to be exhumed and moved and buried," Marble said.
A spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game said the agency has not gotten involved.
Even if the whale was in good enough condition to be towed, he said that often causes problems for other beaches.
"When they’ve been viable enough to tow, they end up at somebody else’s doorstep and there is that further complaint," Marble said.
Marble did not give a time estimate on the removal, saying that a plan was working its way through the department.
"It’s unfortunate to be a resident in a location like that," he said.
Craig Sap of California State Parks confirmed that he has been in contact with several agencies about the whale.
"We don’t have a boat. We don’t have the resources to drag it off the beach," Sap said.
He said the best course of action is for the whale to be removed far out to sea.
"That carcass becomes food for some of the sharks and the other animals," Sap said.