John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The world's biggest toothed predator receives an ignoble send-off.
Um, please don't spray paint the beached whale in Pacifica. Really. (Photo: Jon Harman) pic.twitter.com/PiURc1ZAjX— Peter Meredith (@peter_mer) April 21, 2015
Let this be a lesson to you, kids: When you die, you could be poked, set on fire, and painted with the name of a rodent-themed motorcycle club.
At least that's what happened to a sperm whale found a couple weeks ago at Mori Point south of San Francisco. What killed the 48-foot long creature is unclear. When it appeared a couple weeks ago, its body seemed emaciated. But scientists have found no signs of shark attacks, disease, or boat injuries.
What is clear what happened after researchers left. Chunks of the whale's blubber were burned. And down the side of the beast somebody scrawled, "EAST BAY RATS MOTORCYCLE CLUB." It may be the worst or best instance of viral marketing, depending on your views of "all publicity is good publicity."
[Savina] Hong had brought her kids to check out the circle of life on the beach, but instead found the violated carcass.
"It's awful. I think it's bad enough what happened to the poor whale. Why did they have to go and make it worse?" Hong said.
The president of the bike club, which is based in Oakland, got in touch over email on Friday but didn't claim or deny responsibility. The group did issue a rather salty, tongue-in-cheek statement on Facebook, partially quoted below. Note the graffiti was not Photoshopped, as there's close-up, nasty video of the tagged carcass. (The video contains profanity.)
In light of current events, we thought it necessary to issue the following statement: We do not take any responsibility for the alleged whale spray painting incident, which we believe was photoshopped. However, we do take responsibility for beaching that whale, and in fact, all whales. We will discontinue this practice if we are given one million dollars so that we can bring back Lucky Lager.
Nothing says "I'm classy" like spraying graffiti on a whale carcass. Stranded Sperm Whale, Pacifica, California pic.twitter.com/0Tc5wSUySy— Bobby Boessenecker (@CoastalPaleo) April 21, 2015