It's a whale of a problem: A tiny Canadian town is trying to figure out how to dispose of the 81-foot-long carcass of a cetacean that washed up on the beach and is swelling up.
"They're wondering if it may explode," said Donna Hann, owner of Hann's Confectionery in Trout River, Newfoundland, which is just 200 feet from the decaying ocean mammal.
The blue whale is one of several of the endangered species that were spotted floating off the coast in the last two weeks. The one that is beached belly-up in Trout River, a tourist town with 650 residents, is starting to give off an odor.
"It's becoming a health hazard because it's filling with toxic gases," said Doris Sheppard, owner of a bed and breakfast in town.
The 45-degree weather has slowed the decomposition, but as the weather warms up, locals are concerned the stink will make the beach off-limits.
Town officials say they don't have the equipment or the money to dispose of the creature and have asked the Canadian government for help.
"It's our town's problem is what we've been told," Sheppard said.
A spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the Trout River whale is one of nine that got caught in the ice off Newfoundland, where they feed in the spring.
"In circumstances like this, the disposal of carcasses of whales is the responsibility of provincial or municipal authorities," the agency said in a statement.
Courtesy Doris Sheppard
A giant blue whale carcass washed ashore in Trout River, Newfoundland.
— Tracy Connor
First published April 29 2014, 2:30 PM