Ontario museum workers begin preservation of N.L. whale carcass
A rotting blue whale lies in shallow water after washing ashore in Trout River, Newfoundland, April 30, 2014, in this handout courtesy of NTV News. REUTERS/Don Bradshaw/NTV News/Handout via Reuters
Biologists from the Royal Ontario Museum have towed a dead blue whale from the shore of Trout River, N.L., to an area where they can work on the 23 metre carcass.
The biologists tweeted it took three trucks to pull the whale carcass onto shore in Woody Point where they will now work to clean the carcass before loading it into a truck to take it to Ontario. The process should take about five days.
The team is going to work on the Trout River whale, which made headlines after the town's mayor tried to sell the carcass on eBay, before going to get another carcass in Rocky Harbour. The whale in Rocky Harbour is "slightly bigger" than the one from Trout River, ROM deputy director of collections and research Mark Engstrom said in a live chat.
Both Rocky Harbour and Trout River are located on the western part of the island near Gros Morne National Park.
In a blog post on the ROM's website, Jacqueline Waters said the biologists arrived in Trout River this week. They discovered the whale was heavily deflated and seagulls had begun picking at the decaying bits. Large chunks had been taken out of the side of the carcass "apparently to feed some local huskies" and there is bare cartilage and bone "where someone has managed to chop off one of the flippers."
The two whales, which are endangered species, were killed due to unusual ice formations in the ocean, the museum said. The ROM said recovering the carcasses is important because there are only a few complete skeletons in museums around the world.
"This is a real tragedy we're trying to turn into something positive," Engstrom said.