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Researchers To Perform Necropsy On Whale Found Near Half Moon Bay

Photo credit: Jeff Clark of Mavericks Surf Shop in Half Moon Bay.
Photo credit: Jeff Clark of Mavericks Surf Shop in Half Moon Bay.
Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences are expected to perform a necropsy today on a deceased humpback whale that has washed ashore at Surfer's Beach near Half Moon Bay, according to the Marine Mammal Center.

Center spokeswoman Sarah Van Schagen said researchers hope to find the cause of death of the baby whale.

She said the necropsy could also help researchers learn more about the animal, the ocean environment, where it was headed and why it ended up in the bay. The mammal's blubber can be used in toxicology studies, and its bones can be used in museum displays.

She said she wasn't aware of a timeframe on when the whale will be removed, but she said the necropsy should take at least several hours.

The whale was first seen floating near Pillar Point Harbor on Wednesday, but researchers had to wait until the animal washed ashore before starting the necropsy.

While the whale has drawn a large crowd of beach onlookers the past few days, local surf shop owner Jeff Clark said Thursday he was concerned the decomposing mammal could attract sharks to nearby surf spots.

The Mavericks Surf Shop owner said in a Facebook posting he was concerned for surfers' safety if the whale wasn't removed from the area immediately.

--Bay City News

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