Orange County

Dead Whale That Washed Ashore on Orange County Beach Draws Onlookers and Biologists

The fin whale washed ashore on Wednesday night on Bolsa Chica State Beach.

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A dead whale that washed ashore in Bolsa Chica State Beach drew onlookers and biologists who spent the day measuring, photographing and taking samples to put under a microscope.

Biologists estimate the weight at a whopping 115,000 pounds. If you divide that by 150 pounds for the average human, it's the equivalent of 765 people.

Biologists say their goal is to understand this fin whale's life history. Based on its size -- near 68 feet long -- They know it was an adult and they know it was a female.

"Any opportunity we have to get to know these mysterious species that spend their life so far out in ocean is a great opportunity," said Alissa Deming, of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

In a sense that opportunity surfaced earlier this month.

On May 8 as the HMAS Sydney pulled into a San Siego Naval Base, biologists say the same adult female and a calf dislodged from under its hull.

A tow company then dragged both carcasses some 50 miles out to sea for an ocean burial believing the currents would take the pair south.


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The ocean had other ideas.

The adult fin whale washed ashore in Bolsa Chica Wednesday night, some 80 miles to the north, causing some shock and awe on the beach.

"I would love to see a live whale now that I’ve seen how big they are and like it's crazy the magnitude of them," said Emily Payne, a beachgoer.

Biologists aren’t sure if the whales were dead before they were dragged in by the navy ship. They are an endangered species.

This carcass will stay on the beach until Saturday.

A disposal company will arrive Friday to begin the task of removing the huge animal, which based on its size must be done in pieces.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an animal rights group, is threatening to sue the Navy, saying the military is not abiding by the marine mammal protection act. They want the Navy to stop training exercises in that area, which is what U.S. ships were doing with the Australian destroyer at the time.

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