California

Dead humpback whale washes up near Oceano Dunes

A juvenile humpback whale washed up on the beach near the Oceano Dunes on Monday afternoon.
A juvenile humpback whale washed up on the beach near the Oceano Dunes on Monday afternoon. California State Parks

A dead humpback whale washed up on the beach near the Oceano Dunes on Monday, according to California State Parks Capt. Kevin Pearce.

Authorities found the whale near the off-roading area at about 3 or 4 p.m., Pearce said. The juvenile whale was about 20 feet long.

The cause of death is unknown, Pearce said.

Pearce said the Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit would usually perform a necropsy on the whale, but staff from the organization were unable to get to the area. State Parks staff collected samples of “different parts of the skin” and will send them to the organization for more analysis, Pearce said.

A gray whale calf washed up on Pismo State Beach on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. The whale, which weighed about 2 tons, was found about 7 a.m. in front of the North Beach Campground. Officials called the incident "extremely rare."

State Parks officials buried the whale in the dunes “within the off-highway vehicle area” on Tuesday morning, according to Pearce.

The whale was buried to reduce potential hazards to people and vehicles, protect the snowy plover and least tern bird species from scavenger birds like seagulls and vultures, and “reduce visitor inconvenience due to the lengthy decomposition process,” Pearce said in an email.

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Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF
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