Residents fearful that bloated whale carcass will blow up

Posted at 1:44 AM, May 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-01 01:49:28-04

A rotting blue whale on the banks of river in Canada is making a stink.

Take the largest animal on earth, add in more than a week's worth of rot, and the fresh sea air  is no more. Suddenly the air becomes pretty foul.

"Well, its getting worse now,"Lloyd Hann, resident, said. "Its really getting, everyday. If the weather warmed up, it'd be really bad. Its okay as long as it's cold like this."

Heavy ice is believed to have killed a group of whales off Newfoundland's west coast.

This is likely one of them.

Gawkers may be flocking to see this 25 meter long bloated behemoth now -- but they're not lingering long -- a big concern for local businesses - that rely on the tourist trade.

"The smell of it right now, and the gradual rotting of the whale, is going to cause havoc on the community," said Jenny Parsons, restaurant owner.

Health wise, as well as for tourism. Right now, we have a stream of traffic coming to see the whale, and we would like that to develop further, into, what can we do with this whale, for future tourism?

David Hayashida helped install a humpback whale skeleton in his town of King's Point.

Here he sees a potential attraction going to waste.

"It mystifies me, it really does. Its such a tragedy, and it's a double tragedy when something like this is just going to be thrown away."

But it's not so simple to save the skeleton.

There's another rotting blue whale in the nearby town of Rocky Harbor, just northwest of here.

In both cases the federal and provincial governments say it's entirely up to the towns to clean up the carcasses.

"It could possibly weigh up to 180 tons," said Emily Butler, town clerk. "The section that's blowing up is probably about 8 feet high. You know, we've never had to deal with a situation like this, its very unusual and I really don't believe we have the resources, in terms of removing it."