Dead Humpback Whale On LA Beach Towed To Sea In Time For 4th Of July Celebrations

First Posted: Jul 04, 2016 05:00 AM EDT

A 45-foot-long female humpback whale washed ashore at the Dockweiler State Beach near the Los Angeles International Airport last Thursday. The whale was towed out to sea during the high tide at 7:40 PM the following day with the help of the crew at the beach.

The cause of the whale's death is still being investigated, said the Los Angeles Daily News, but there had been no visible signs of trauma, and it took over a day to get it off the shore as an afternoon attempt to bulldoze the body far enough into the surf has failed.

The humpback weighed roughly around 35 to 40 tons, and was said to have healed "entanglement scars" from being caught in fishing lines earlier in its life, said a research associate for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Alisa Schulman-Janiger shared, "We did take measurements, tissue samples, blubber samples, muscle samples, fecal samples. She had no obvious wounds or cuts and was very, very fresh. Perhaps she died early Thursday."

Fox News reported that lifeguards posted yellow caution tape to keep people away from the whale as biologists took samples to determine the cause of death, and beachgoers, who arrived for the Fourth of July weekend looked from a distance while covering their noses from the stench. NBC Los Angeles said that the primary concern was for the lifeguards to keep the Fourth of July crowd far away from the decomposing whale.

Tail marking have been noted and a photo database found that the whale had been spotted three times before just off Southern California between June and August last year. She even had a name - whale watchers were said to have given her the nickname "Wally."

This is the second dead humpback that washed ashore in Los Angeles in the past two weeks. The first was a female, possibly struck by a ship, which was brought into the Port of Los Angeles in June 14.

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