Whale on SoCal Beach Will Be Cut Up, Sent to Landfill

The rotting carcass of a massive gray whale that washed up on a California beach will be cut up and trucked to a landfill, authorities said.

California parks officials made the decision Wednesday after determining it would be impractical to tow the 40-foot whale out to sea or bury it at San Onofre State Beach about 55 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Beach Superintendent Rich Haydon says the work by an emergency contractor will begin Thursday morning and take a couple of days at a cost of about $30,000.

Despite the stench, the huge animal has drawn attention after it washed ashore Sunday at one of Southern California's most legendary surf spots, Lower Trestles. Waves of onlookers have flocked to the beach to snap photos of the dead mammal.

A boat captain with the Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching said a second whale carcass was spotted in the area and expects it will soon wash up.

The whale likely died of natural causes, as it had no visible signs of entanglements or abrasions.

Gray whales are migrating north along the West Coast after wintering in Baja California lagoons.

Copyright Associated Press/NBC Southern California 

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