MALIBU—A deceased whale washed up on a Malibu beach on Sunday, March 24. Spectators described the whale to be 40 feet long and emitting a strong odor. The whale was found after 3 a.m. by California Highway Patrol officials and had several deep gashes on its body, ABC 7 reported.

Haddy Shelton an onlooker told ABC7 in an interview, “I honestly didn’t even know they got this big and some lady just told me it is a year old, I cannot believe how big they get.”

Individuals from Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute were performing a necropsy on Monday, March 25 to determine the cause of death. Officials are not planning on moving the whale, and will allow the carcass to decompose on the beach.

The California coast is a migrating route for the grey whale which can be spotted off the coast during the spring season. Traveling groups of grey whales are called pods and travel up to 12,430 miles during their voyage. The grey whale travels to shallow waters in the winter. Many other grey whales reside near the seas in Korea.

During the 20 century, the grey whale was at risk of becoming extinct, but today the mammals are protected by international law and has helped the grey whale population to grow in recent years. In 1994, the grey whale was taken off the United States endangered species list.