STINSON BEACH (KPIX 5/KCBS) -- A fin whale measuring roughly 50 feet died after washing ashore on the north end of Stinson Beach on Monday.
The whale was still alive when it ended up beached in the early morning hours during high tide, according to the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center. Veterinarians were on the scene evaluating the whale's condition when it later died.
Fin whales are second only to the Blue Whale in length and are known for their slender bodies. They are typically found in deeper waters offshore, and were hunted heavily during much of the last century, leading to endangered species status.
"In the past we used to have whales wash up on a regular basis in the winter... when they were harpooned, when they were hunted. I've never seen a live whale wash up on the beach before," said Stinson Beach Fire Chief Kenny Stevens.
Crews worked Monday afternoon to remove the whale's carcass from the beach.
There was no word yet on what caused the whale to wash ashore; a necropsy was being conducted to determine the whale's cause of death.
Blood was found around the whale's mouth, Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Kate Harle said.
Stranded Whale Dies After Washing Ashore On Stinson Beach
She indicated it was the center's fourth case involving a beached fin whale.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
for more features.