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CBS San Francisco
Richmond officials working to remove decaying whale carcass from waterfront
By CBS San Francisco,
RICHMOND (CBS SF) -- The decaying carcass of a whale that has been drifting with the tide on the San Francisco Bay for weeks until it washed up on the Richmond shore has raised the ire of city officials who have hired a private contractor to bury it.
According to officials at the Marine Mammal Center, the dead whale was first spotted floating near the USS Hornet in Alameda back on April 4.
Eventually, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers towed it Richmond, where they tethered it to Brooks Island.
But the mooring broke loose, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, and it came to rest on the beach next to the Bay Trail and immediately in front of one of his city's most expensive neighborhoods, known as Waterline.
There it has been rotting and emitting a terrible stench. It also has angered Butt and local residents.
"Getting rid of a beached deceased whale is not easily done – if done at all," the mayor said in a statement. "In this case, the whale did not just randomly end up in Richmond as a result of tides and currents. The US Army Corps of Engineers put it there."
"Why Richmond?," the statement continued. "Maybe because Richmond has 32 miles of shoreline, more than any city on San Francisco Bay. But more likely because Richmond is a low-income community predominantly of color perceived as less likely to make a stink (pun intended) about it than, say, Tiburon or Alameda."
City work crews tried to bury the carcass on Wednesday, but their wheel loader got bogged down on the beach.
On Thursday, a local contractor was brought in with a tracked excavator and was trying again to bury the dead whale.