A solution appears to have been found for a rotting whale carcass on the shore of the western Newfoundland town of Rocky Harbour, the second blue whale to have washed ashore near Gros Morne National Park.
Mayor Walter Nicolle said Tuesday that Memorial University (MUN) has worked out a deal with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) that would see MUN dismantle the carcass of the whale, which washed ashore this spring after it and other blue whales perished offshore under heavy ice.
The ROM last week finished stripping another blue whale that had washed ashore in Trout River. ROM says its plans include potentially putting the rebuilt skeleton on public display in Toronto.
But the cost of handling the Trout River whale turned out to be higher than expected, with the ROM taking a pass on handling the second whale.
"I think our whale is going to be going to St. John's," said Nicolle, who met on Friday with Memorial president Gary Kachonoski.
"They've talked back and forth and have reached some agreement," said Nicolle, adding that crews are expected to arrive in Rocky Harbour later this week to flense the whale and prepare its bones for shipping.
Nicolle told CBC News that he will be happy to no longer have a dead blue whale on the shoreline.
"It would stink out the community" if the carcass was not removed, Nicolle said.
"You wouldn't be able to live here. We'd probably all have to move for the summer."
The whale's carcass is within about 100 metres of some houses.
Blue whales are uncommon in the northwest Atlantic, with scientists estimating that there are fewer than 250 mature adults in the area.