WASHINGTON, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - A rotting whale carcass that washed ashore in the US state of California this week just a stone’s throw from the multimillion-dollar Malibu homes of some of Hollywood’s richest and most famous stars is creating a stink between the various government agencies in the area over just who’s responsible for cleaning up the mess.
“He’s pretty funky now,” said Tamara Dunn, who lives right next to Paradise Cove, where the young whale landed, in an interview with KNX Newsradio.
“I don’t know how they’re gonna get him out. They talked about taking him out in pieces because he’s so big, the Coast Guard can’t drag him back out to sea,” said Dunn.
It’s a smelly problem that’s 40 feet (12 meters) long, and weighs 40,000 pounds (18,000 kilograms).
Marine experts performed a necropsy and said it was a young fin whale – an endangered species – that may have fallen victim to one of the many ships that pass through the nearby port of Long Beach, one of the busiest shipping ports on the West Coast.
"The traumatic injury that we discovered is consistent with a ship strike," said Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center, according to local news service Malibu Patch.
Meanwhile, KTLA television reports the city of Malibu thought the county would take care of it – but the county says the pristine sandy shores of Little Dume where the carcass washed up is a private beach and not their job to take care of.
While the various government entities scramble to find the proof that the animal didn’t come to rest in their particular jurisdictions, some locals told RIA Novosti it wasn’t that bad – or that unusual.
Nevertheless, the thought of a stinky, rotting carcass fouling the pristine sands and ocean airs that cool the beachfront homes of mega stars like Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, Martin Sheen and more?
It was just too tempting for the media to resist.
The story was reported by a few local news agencies, and then quickly picked up by national media from The Associated Press to ABC News. There are photos. And videos. But no easy solution.
“It still stinks,” an officer with the Malibu Police Department told RIA Novosti.
“It’s not getting any better,” he said.
In fact, it’s getting worse. While the debate rages on, the whale’s body is of course decomposing – which means, towing it out to sea as is sometimes done in such cases is no longer an option.
The area is also rocky, which makes for a difficult burial.
That means option three may be the most likely scenario: just letting the rotting creature stay where it is until it slowly rots away.
That’s not likely to make homeowners in the area very happy.
“These are the upper echelon of the upper echelon,” said the officer, who declined to give his name.
As for the stars who live nearby?
“They always complain,” he joked. “But nobody else really cares. It’s not like anyone’s talking about this at Starbucks.”