A whale that washed up on shore in Newfoundland is in danger of exploding, according to experts in Trout River, Canada.
The town clerk, Emily Butler, told Canadian news service NTV that the blue whale carcass that washed up on the town’s boardwalk last week is decaying and filled with methane gas, which could lead the whale to explode.
Jack Lawson, a research scientist with Canada’s Fisheries Department, said the risk of the whale blowing up is “very small.”
It’s more likely gases will escape as the whale’s skin breaks down, deflating like an old balloon, Lawson said. Local officials have raised health concerns, and worry that the stench could affect the looming tourism season.
The scientist said large, beached whales can either be buried with heavy equipment or cut up and shipped to a landfill.
Butler asked the province’s Environment and Government Services departments as well as the federal Fisheries Department for help to remove the carcass. Butler said the town council considered asking fishermen to tow the mammal out to sea but concluded it would need to be supervised by an expert. “Nobody has been properly trained in the removal of whale carcasses of this size,” she said.