PACIFICA (AP) — A dead whale was found on a beach south of San Francisco on Tuesday, the same day two other dead whales that washed up weeks apart were being buried nearby after neighbors complained of their rotting smell.
The cetacean appears to be an adult gray whale, about 40 feet long, California Academy of Sciences spokeswoman Haley Bowling said.
The whale could be the same one spotted floating offshore within the last two days, Bowling said.
Scientists from the academy were en route to the scene, but the whale could easily be carried out by the tide before researchers get a chance to examine it, she said.
The Half Moon Bay whale showed up as crews in Pacifica were digging holes to bury two whales that washed up there over the previous month.
On May 6, a 42-foot female humpback with four fractured vertebrae and a broken rib washed up on the same Pacifica beach where a 50-foot sperm whale was found about three weeks earlier.
The cause of death in both cases remains uncertain.
The area where the whales washed up belongs to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, Pacifica Interim Chief of Police Dan Steidle said.
Officials originally were going to allow the whales to decompose. But given the stench, the whales will be buried on the beach Tuesday, Steidle said.