More information floating in on dead whale

Biologists have narrowed down the species of a whale that washed ashore Ocean Beach to two possibilities and said it was probably struck by a vessel before it hit sand.

The 50-foot carcass that was found around 7 a.m. Monday between Kirkham and Lawton avenues was that of either a fin or sei whale, both of which are endangered. Tuesday, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the federal agency that owns the land, buried the carcass at least 3 feet below the sand’s surface.

“There is a very clean cut down the middle of it,” said GGNRA spokesman George Durgerian, indicating it might be a boat propeller. “Looks like it was probably hit by a vessel.”

However, biologists at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito who also took samples of its tissue and blubber to the determine the species said it will be difficult to know, if they find out at all, if it was in fact hit while it was still alive.

The whale is being buried at San Francisco's Ocean Beach today after its body washed onshore on Monday morning, a spokesman for the National Park Service said.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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