Dead whale in Malibu is towed away

MALIBU, Calif. — The decaying carcass of a whale that washed onto a California beach was towed out to sea Saturday, five days after it washed ashore and created a stench near the Malibu homes of movie stars and millionaires.

A tugboat hired by a homeowners’ association towed the carcass of the huge fin whale about 20 miles from shore, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Brian Riley said.

The 40-foot-long, 40,000-pound juvenile male washed ashore Monday near Point Dume, attracting onlookers who wandered down the narrow beach to look at the remains — white bones, rolls of blubber and the tail flukes trailing along the water’s edge. Massive estates line the cliffs high above the beach in Malibu.

Jonsie Ross, marine mammal coordinator for the California Wildlife Center, said evidence suggests the whale was hit by a ship.

The prospect frustrated James Respondek, who worried that the carcass would draw sharks and pose a threat to his young daughter, who swims in the cove, and to his favorite surfing spot down the beach.

“There seems to be no readiness to take responsibility, to take action, just a lot of excuses.’I don’t have a boat, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the resources,’ they all told me,” he said Friday.

The Fire Department’s lifeguards patrol beaches in Malibu, but the homeowners’ association did not take their offer to assist with the towing, Riley said.

Fin whales are endangered, and about 2,300 live along the West Coast. They’re the second-largest species of whale after blue whales and can grow up to 85 feet, weigh up to 80 tons and live to be 90 years old.

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