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Endangered Fin Whale Beached In San Pedro

SAN PEDRO ( — An endangered whale found floating dead in the San Pedro harbor has been pulled ashore for a necropsy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration worked with harbor crews to haul the fin whale to the sand.

The necropsy was expected to last all day.

When high tide sets in around 5 p.m., the Coast Guard and NOAA will tow the whale 50 miles out to sea, where the carcass will sink and continue the circle of life.

Finwhale Beached In San Pedro
(credit: Joy Benedict/CBS)

Scientists say it does appear by the whale's broken bones that it was struck by a vessel. They don't yet know if the whale was already dead when it was struck.

CBS2's Joy Benedict said large crowds gathered to see the rare creature up close.

Gina Elder asked her 10-year-old daughter Lilly, "Is it sad or is it interesting?" to which her daughter replied, "Both!"

"They're dissecting it and seeing what it's made of and what's inside," Lilly said.

The whale first surfaced in the harbor Friday -- apparently already dead.

"We're able to basically take the animal apart take a good look inside and see if we can, what happened to this whale," said Justin Viezbicke, with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.

Scientists say this fin whale was a sub-adult -- meaning at 50 feet long and 75,000 pounds it still wasn't full grown.

The fin whale is native to the Southern California coast.


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