Beached Pacifica whales receive proper burial

PACIFICA (KRON) — The burial for two beached whales who washed ashore in Pacifica in recent weeks began today, according to a San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman.

The burial is expected take a few days due to the size of the animals.

Crews will be working for a few hours each day to bury the whales on Sharp Park Beach above the high tide line. Work is expected to take another day or two, Rec and Park spokeswoman Connie Chan said.

The initial plan was to let the two enormous whales decompose on the beach, but the foul odors caused the city of Pacifica to rethink a solution.

The first whale, a 48-foot sperm was discovered on April 14th, and the second, a 42-foot humpback whale was discovered on May 5th.

Marin Headlands-based Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr said Monday that while generally whale carcasses are left to decompose on beaches, they usually are found on more remote beaches.

But in the case where the landowner wants to get rid of them, the center has no objections, Sherr said. Center researchers finished studying the two whales within a week of their discovery.

Necropsies performed on both of the whales were inconclusive and the cause of death is still unknown.

The center has responded to 17 beached sperm whales and 21 beached humpbacks in its 40-year history.

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