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    Did Deceased Baby Whale Wash Ashore At Bixby Beach?

    (Mar. 24, 2007) -- A deceased, visibly injured large sea creature, possibly a baby whale, washed ashore Mar. 23 at Bixby Beach just south of Bixby Park near the main lifeguard building. Signs and yellow tape cautioned a gathering crowd not to disturb whatever washed onto the sand.

    Photo credit: Don Varner

    The signs didn't say what the sea creature was...and reader Don Varner graciously emailed us his cell phone photo...and asked us to try and get further information.

    Mr. Varner says he saw something gray rolling around next to the shore, roughly ten feet long, which appeared to have two side flippers or fins ..with one tail fin looking much like that of a whale. The animal was dead...and could be smelled before it was seen; it had been damaged on one side...with some innards outside its body.

    "About fifty feet up the beach there was an area marked off with stakes, yellow tape, and signs warning no to disturb whatever had been in that area. Apparently this animal had washed up there, and then when the tide rose it took it down the beach," Mr. Varner emailed, adding that he later did an internet photo search and the creature seemed to most closely resemble a baby whale because of its very large mouth and tongue, and lack of fins on the top or bottom.

    Here's a cropped shot, sharpened a bit digitally by us.

    Cropped/sharpened by; original photo by Don Varner

    We spent nearly two hours trying to reach state or federal people who might have the info over the weekend. We managed to find two CA Fish & Game reps on cell phones...who tried to help but didn't have weekend contact numbers at hand. One referred us to the U.S. Wildlife Service...where So. Cal media reps had office voice mail with no after hour cell phone referral numbers [comment: your federal tax dollars at work].

    We wouldn't be surprised if some expert(s) in's readership can identify this creature. If you know, email us at We'll ask officialdom on Monday and post the info here. Click reload or refresh for updated text.

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