What to Do With a Dead Whale

Washed-up hulks are difficult to dispose of
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2007 9:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – The rash of dead whales washing onto California shores recently isn’t just an ecological tragedy; it’s a mammoth challenge. Disposing of whale carcasses is notoriously difficult, the LA Times explains. Pull one out to sea, and it will probably drift back—as a 70-ton whale did in Malibu twice last week. After a burial on a San Diego beach, leaking oil drew sharks that terrorized surfers.

With tons of blubber, whales are too buoyant to sink at sea. Cremation can work, if there’s no one around to smell it. Oregon officials once tried blowing one up, only to have blubber rain down on hapless bystanders. Two marine biologists offer sage advice: “The simplest way for a carcass to disappear is to turn your back on it and walk away.” (Read more whale stories.)