Jurisdictional Disputes a Whale of a Problem When Dealing with Whale Carcasses

A dead whale has washed up on the shores of Pacifica, the second in just a few weeks, NBC Bay Area reports. The whale, which was found last evening and will undergo a necropsy tomorrow to determine the cause of death, is a female hunchback (sorry!) humpback. It is about half the size of the sperm whale that's been rotting on the same beach since April 15. 

The first whale is still decomposing on the beach—and attracting the attention of taggers—due to a jurisdictional dispute. 

[jump] Per NBC Bay Area

The whale hasn't been moved, according to Police Chief Dan Steidle, because no jurisdiction has yet to claim it. Steidle told NBC Bay Area that the dispute is whether the first whale's body lies on the property of the city of Pacifica, the federal government – the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the city and county of San Francisco's Recreation and Park District, or the state of California. He said the city is waiting for a ruling to decide who will move the whale and how to move it. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the best thing to do is to tow the whale back out in the ocean, but at this point, it may be too late, he said, because the carcass of the sperm whale is deeply embedded in the sand.

As for the humpback found on Monday. “This one is definitely San Francisco's,” Steidle said.

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