Photo: A rescue boat tows 45-foot Wally the whale carcass away from the shoreline. Credit: Twitter/Newport Lifeguards
Lifeguard crews along California's Newport Beach have had their hands full in recent days. The problem? A bloated, increasingly fetid whale carcass that won't drift out to sea and stay there.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the whale was a humpback known as Wally by researchers who had been tracking it since last August.
Wally originally washed ashore June 30 at Dockweiler State Beach. The next day, a combination of bulldozers, lifeguard boats, and high tide conspired to get the 45-foot-long, 20-plus-ton carcass out into the open water. No easy task.
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However, the water, the wind, and the whale were having none of that, and by yesterday Wally was spotted just a few miles offshore from Newport Beach, threatening once again to come ashore.
Officials would like to prevent that from happening, as the corpse would not only send a literal stench along the beach but the smell could also attract sharks -- expert sniffers -- into the shallows, threatening swimmers, as the ocregister noted.
Wally was towed more than a dozen miles away from the shore again, but prevailing winds threatened to push the corpse back onto land, so the animal had to be towed yet further away, in hopes the third tow would be the charm.
Officials don't know how Wally died, but tissue samples taken when it washed ashore may help biologists figure out the cause of death.
An interesting side note about Wally is that he was actually a she, despite having been tagged as a male. Closer inspection on the beach, though, confirmed her sex.
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