Will The Whale On Canadian Beach Finally Explode?
Trout River in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada became a famous little town since the 81-foot long, dead blue whale washed ashore on the last week of April 2014. This is just one of nine whales that died crushed in the heavy ice, several weeks before, off the southwest coast of the Rock. The whale in Trout River is not the only one that floated back to land – there is one in Rocky Harbor and the one in the Bakers Brook area, all of them the size of a bus.
The stench of the rotting carcass is more than appalling, but the whale is still there, on the beach. According to the local authorities, they don’t know what to do with it. Residents hoped that the Canadian government would help, but unfortunately they have to deal with their “whale” problem on their own. Canadian officials say it’s the responsibility of provincial or municipal authorities.
But how? This small town with only 600 residents has no money or the equipment to dispose of the dead creature. Some volunteers wanted to drag the carcass into the sea, but that would pose hazard to the passing ships. People even wanted to burn or bury the carcass, but nothing has been done.
As usual, the carcass is full of methane. It’s swollen and may easily explode all over the beach which will be a real health hazard. Fortunately, for the residents of this little town, the swollen mammal is starting to deflate. They probably won’t be witnesses to a sight such as in Faroe Islands in 2013, when a biologist cut open a dead sperm whale and had to flee from the explosion of whale innards.
Jack Lawson, a researcher with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans explained that gases will probably leave the whale carcass. Also, its skin will break down and deflate like a balloon. He remains optimistic: “We rarely get a chance to look at a whole blue whale. So, this is an opportunity for us to collect samples from animals that normally aren’t easy to find and approach.”
People are worried about how this may affect the upcoming tourist season. Unexpectedly, tourists are drawn to this little town with a great desire to see the whale rotting carcass. Town clerk Emily Butler says: “They do realize the blue whale is attracting attention, in terms of tourists wanting to come and see it, but they don’t believe it will actually keep the tourists around the area.”