Storm debris delays necropsy of dead whale

A necropsy planned for a dead whale that washed up near the Oakland waterfront more than a week ago has been delayed, officials at the Marine Mammal Center said Friday.

Officials with the Sausalito-based mammal center are working with the California Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to coordinate the necropsy, which has been rescheduled for sometime next week, center officials said.

The whale, which is currently being held at Angel Island State Park, was found Jan. 7 floating upside down near Oakland’s Howard Terminal.

The necropsy will be performed on a remote beach on the island, west of Blunt Point. The beach is inaccessible to the public and boats can only enter the area with a permit, according to center officials.

The delay of the necropsy is due to hazardous conditions caused by last week’s storm, which created debris in the bay. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was tasked with cleaning up the area over the weekend, center officials said.

On Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used two boats to tow the carcass to an area near Blunt Point.

The female whale, which was identified as either a blue or fin whale, is between 40 to 60 feet long.

The necropsy will help scientists figure out how the whale died, and can provide insights to the species in general and even wider oceanic conditions, according to center officials.

A dead blue whale that washed ashore on a Daly City beach in October was determined to have died after being hit by a ship, center officials said.