Town May Get to Keep Unexploded Whale

Dismemberment job even bigger than museum expected
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2014 2:51 AM CDT
Town May Get to Keep Unexploded Whale
A rotting blue whale carcass sits on the shore in Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada.   (AP Photo/NTV News via The Canadian Press, Don Bradshaw)

Cutting up the remains of the biggest creature on our planet is a big, messy, and expensive job, says the man leading the effort to dismember two dead blue whales washed up near a Newfoundland town, where residents at first feared they would explode. The museum official says he had originally planned to transport both whales to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, but unexpected costs mean that townspeople who want to keep the skeleton of at least one whale may get their wish, reports the National Post, which has a graphic photo gallery of the whale-dismembering team at work.

The extra costs include the price of burying huge amounts of blubber in a local landfill, explains the museum official, who says he is awed by the size of the dead creatures. He stripped a blood vessel from a carcass yesterday, and "I could put my head inside of it," he tells the Globe and Mail. "And I have a big head." The washed-up whales are among nine blue whales crushed by unusually heavy sea ice this spring, accounting for 5% of the whole North Atlantic population. Saving the remains, which will be trucked to Toronto, "is a positive from the tragedy of the death," the official says. "It’s very unfortunate that the whales died, but we’re trying to get as much information as we can out of this animal, so that it comes to some good use." (More Newfoundland stories.)

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