Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fin Whale Washes Up on the Rocks of Point Loma

A 65 ft. Female Fin Whale, on the beach at Fiesta Island, San Diego, California. This female fin whale washed up on the rocks of Point Loma, just below the waste treatment plant roughly five days ago. A life guard boat was used to drag it to Fiesta Island, shown above, where it would be dissected to determine its cause of death. A young fetus was also present, ejected as the whale began to decay, at the point loma site; however, it was apparently lost in the process of towing the mother to Fiesta Island.

A large grading tractor was used to attempt to pull it up the beach and out of the water. However, after a large strap and two large chains snapped in a most spectacular fashion in the attempt, it was decided to process the whale where it lay. As the scientists started to cut open the whale, the smell, as you would expect, became rather extreme and this photographer left, generally relieved to not be living down-wind of the carcass. However, a small crowd of onlookers remained to watch the process. Apparently, samples are being brought to the Scripps Institute for further research.

Post script: The scientists reported today (11/24) that the cause of death appeared to be a collision with a boat that fractured several of her vertebrae. As fast as these mammals are, you would think that would never happen, but perhaps curiosity lured her in a little to close...

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