H-OCEANO

May 1, 2013 11:43 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Body of young whale buried in Oceano Dunes

A week ago, a young humpback whale washed ashore in Guadalupe. Park rangers in Oceano say the whale is the same one found Tuesday on the beach at the Oceano Dunes.

The whale washed back out to sea last Thursday and the strong currents pushed her back onto the beach in Oceano.

Marine biologist Michelle Berman says the female whale died out in the ocean days ago. She was 24-feet long and believed to be 18-months old.

"After 6 months they are able to feed on their own, so they can be separated from their mother," she said.

Scientists say she could have been sick, hit by a ship or attacked by another animal, but they will never know for sure.

"Our maintenance crew came out this morning and buried it above the high tide line," said Brent Marshall of the California State Parks.

He says from here, nature will take its course.

Marine biologists estimate California's humpback population to be around 2,000.

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