About one week ago, the carcass of a dead blue whale washed ashore in Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada. As reported by the BBC, residents now fear that the 25-meter-long (over 82-foot-long) decomposing whale, which is filling and expanding with methane gas, could explode. The BBC notes that a sperm whale carcass that landed on the shores of the Faroe Islands exploded as a biologist tried to perform a dissection.
Blue whales are the largest known animals in the world, and the carcass of the beached Trout River blue whale is growing. "The whale is blowing up. It looks as if it's a big balloon, from a distance," Emily Butler, Trout River town manager told CBC News. "There is a possibility as well, with all these gases inside the whale, that it may possibly explode…That's a major concern for us." The BBC reports that an explosion could happen at any time and would not only magnify the stench, but with the whale just feet away from the main waterfront boardwalk, tourists who have gathered near the swelling animal, could be close.
According to Canada’s NTV news, the Trout River town council has been unsuccessful in soliciting help to dispose of the animal carcass. They’ve contacted provincial and federal government agencies but are being told that they will have to deal with the problem themselves. With a small town population of 600 residents, Trout River is not equipped to handle this unique dilemma. “I wouldn’t want to direct anybody to actually remove this animal you know, under the town’s responsibility because we don’t have the expertise to do such a thing,” Ms. Butler added that pushing the whale back out to sea is not an option saying, “I’m also hearing that DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) would seem to take this as being an interference with navigation if it’s taken back out to the ocean.”
It is believed that the Trout River beached whale is one from a group of endangered blue whales that tragically died weeks ago off Newfoundland’s southwest coast in heavy ice.
Trout River resident Fred Crocker told Canada’s NTV News, “If this is not moved in the very near future, I mean the stench of this is going to be you know, unreal. So, right now it’s a great tourist attraction but further down the road it’s not going to be so nice.” Ms. Butler said, “We’re really concerned about the smell from this. We are also concerned with the health aspect of this animal being on the beach line.”
It remains unclear how the town will deal with the animal’s remains.