A humpback whale was washed ashore on a beach near Carpinteria earlier this week.
Beachgoers — and their four-legged friends — have been urged to be careful around the large mammal, which is on Padaro Beach.
“We probably get about one humpback whale (washed ashore) every other year,” said Michelle Kowalewski, the founder and director of the Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit.
Experts urge that the relatively uncommon occurrence can present health issues.
“Whales are mammals, and they can transmit diseases to humans and dogs,” Ms. Kowalewski told the News-Press. “It’s really important to not touch them or get any of the oils on you or your dog.”
CICRU was unable to determine the cause of death of the humpback whale, due to a phenomenon that occurs in stranded whales that Ms. Kowalewski referred to as “cooking.”
“Whales are very well insulated (from blubber). As soon as they die, their organs start cooking. Their normal body heat is about 100 degrees,” she said.
CICRU is a nonprofit that was founded in 2013 to respond to deceased cetaceans (aquatic mammals like whales and dolphins). The organization works to determine the health of the ocean in the Santa Barbara area and can be reached at 805-500-6220.