It’s been a tough week for the endangered fin whale. Two dead whales, one on each coast of the United States, have been attracting significant attention. We start in Delaware and then move west to Washington state.
Delaware struggles with 35 tons of dead whale
Residents of the Delaware coast are struggling with how to dispose of a giant whale carcass that came ashore on May 13. As the second largest creature on the planet (next to the blue whale), it should come as no surprise that crews using ropes to move the 35-ton, 55-foot fin whale encountered problems — even after the rotting hulk was dissected into smaller pieces, which included decapitating the dead beast.
According to Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the non-profit Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, “The ropes (used to drag the whale) keep breaking. We’re waiting for a chain and we have a rope on loan from a barge towing company.” Once the chains and other equipment arrive, workers plan to relocate the carcass to a nearby state park where, after additional tests are performed, the whale will be buried.
We all know what the Oregon highway engineers would have done!
Links to articles appear below, including one paying homage to our original exploding whale:
- Disposing of beached whale a challenge – The Daily Times
- The tale of the incredible exploding whale – The Delaware Wave
- Beached whale buried near Fenwick – The Delaware Wave
Dead fin whale surfaces in inland waters of Washington state
Interestingly enough, one day after the Delaware whale came ashore, a dead fin whale also surfaced on the other side of the country in Lummi Bay near Bellingham, Washington. This was a particularly odd event since fin whales do not normally inhabit inland waters. Experts now believe the whale was killed after being struck by a ship, though they do not know where that may have occurred or necessarily how the whale ended up so far away from a deep ocean environment. It is possible that the dead whale was carried on the bulbous bow of a large ship, like the one shown at right.
The 57-foot carcass eventually came ashore on a beach belonging to the Lummi Indian Tribe. Once tests are complete, the bloated whale will be left to decay naturally over the course of the next year. The Lummi tribe then plans to keep the bones and baleen.