A 40,000 pound whale carcass remains stuck on a beach in Malibu three days after it washed up in an area of exclusive homes.
The male fin whale is believed to have been struck and killed by a boat before it washed up in tidelands near Point Dume on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the city of Malibu said that Los Angeles County lifeguards and the state department of Parks and Recreation might attempt to remove the carcass on Thursday.
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But state and local agencies continued to argue over who was responsible for removing the animal - and how to do it. The Malibu spokeswoman, Olivia Damavandi, said removal plans had not been finalized, and might roll over to another day.
The carcass was intact when the whale first landed on the beach on Monday, but by Thursday it had been been partially dissected by scientists seeking to find out how it died.
Its bones were exposed, and birds feasted on its flesh.
Malibu resident Mari Stanley went to see the animal after it washed ashore earlier this week.
"It's a beautiful beast," she said. "It just looked like someone had picked it up and dropped it on the beach."
On the whale's back, Stanley said, was a big lump. Scientists at first speculated that it might be a tumor, but then came to believe that the swelling was from a blow that came when a boat struck the animal at sea.
Residents, who need a key to access the beach, came down to look at the whale, snapping pictures and bringing their children.
But Stanley said most were quiet and respectful upon seeing the massive creature, which was wedged into the rocks along the shore.
The online news site Malibu Patch has posted pictures and video of the 40-foot whale. The site's editor, Jessica E. Davis, reported that the animal was a juvenile.
The carcass, which on Wednesday was cut open by wildlife experts who performed a necropsy, is on the beach at Little Dume, near homes owned by Hollywood A-listers and other wealthy residents.