How to Move a Whale Carcass

City of Edinburgh had to solve the problem in a hurry

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 18, 2014 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Officials in Edinburgh, Scotland, faced a vexing question this week: What do you do with a dead 30-ton whale that washes up on a beach—near a hotel, no less—and begins stinking up the city? The answer involves a crane, a big truck, a landfill, and some unusual images, reports the Independent. "There are only a few options for an animal this size," explains a Facebook post by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme.

After leaving it in place and trying to bury it were quickly ruled out, the agency towed the 45-foot animal to a port, lifted it by crane into a truck, then drove it to a local landfill. "Not the nicest place to perform a necropsy but it does allow us to get an accurate weight on an animal that would be too big to weigh anywhere else," says the SMASS. The best guess is that the young male sperm whale ran into a ship's propeller in deeper waters, reports the BBC. (If so, maybe this app could have saved its life.)

Not a sight you see every day: This photo from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme shows the whale in transport.
Not a sight you see every day: This photo from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme shows the whale in transport.   (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=576037119153746&set=pcb.576039809153477&type=1&theater)
A marine rescue worker photographs a sperm whale that washed up on Portobello beach in Edinburgh, Scotland.
A marine rescue worker photographs a sperm whale that washed up on Portobello beach in Edinburgh, Scotland.   (AP Photo/PA, Andrew Milligan)
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