Dead whale discovered in San Francisco Bay

May 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A dead whale was found in San Francisco Bay Wednesday and it is the second time in three weeks for the Coast Guard and marine biologists.

Wednesday evening, the whale drifted to Angel Island, but the Coast Guard says it will go out Thursday morning to find out where the whale has officially landed.

Where it ends up will determine who is responsible for the costly and smelly chore of towing it four miles out to sea. That's why the Port of San Francisco and the national and state parks are holding their breath.

The Marine Mammal Center went out to examine the whale which was spotted not far from Pier 39. They said it is a 30 to 35-foot California gray whale. It appears to be a juvenile and is mildly decomposing.

The decomposition will make it lot more difficult to examine and test the whale for clues as to how it died, unlike a 20-foot baby gray whale found floating in the bay three weeks ago. The results on that autopsy are not back yet, but marine biologists hope to learn a lot from it.

In the meantime, the question remains on what to do with the whale found on Wednesday.

"It's really hard to say, at what stage, how long it's been dead for instance, or how it died," Jim Oswald with the Marine Mammal Center told ABC7. "All we can do at this stage is kind of see what happens to this carcass, and if it does float out onto land in an area where researchers can actually secure it safely and actually take tissue samples and measurements, then we'll definitely want to do that."

No one really wants it to float onto their property because once it touches their property, it becomes their problem. In fact, the gray whale from three weeks ago is still decomposing on the beach at Point Richmond.

It is a very expensive and smelly problem, and that is why everyone wants the whale towed away from their property as soon as possible.

The Marine Mammal Center says they are not as interested in researching this whale and may not end up taking control of the carcass.


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