Dead Orca Washes Ashore

Marin beaching being investigated.

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011  |  Updated 6:49 AM PDT
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Dead Orca Washes Ashore

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Wildlife officials say the body of a killer whale that washed ashore on a remote Marin County beach shows possible signs of trauma, though they don't yet know the cause of its death.

The 18-foot male juvenile washed up last week just north of McClure's Beach, a scenic stretch of wilderness coastline that's part of Point Reyes National Seashore. Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald tells the Marin Independent Journal that it's rare to see an orca on shore in Northern California.

A team from the center and the California Academy of Sciences removed the whale's head and dorsal fin and took skin samples to determine how it died.

Officials said they were investigating the possibility that another animal or a ship may have injured the orca.

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