New Brunswick

Stranded whales buried near Murray Beach Provincial Park

Four whales found beached near Murray Beach Provincial Park near the Confederation Bridge this week have been buried in the sand.

Concern expressed about what will happen when carcassses decompose

The carcasses of four whales found beached near Murray Beach Provincial Park near the Confederation Bridge this week have been buried in the sand.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials and representatives from the University of Prince Edward Island examined the whales then the province was called in to dispose of the carcasses.

The carcasses of four stranded pilot whales were buried six feet into the sand of a beach near Murray Park Provincial Park. (Jessica Doria-Brown / CBC)
The four dead whales were buried in the sandy beach near the provincial park and that is raising questions from some.

David Crocker worries what will happen once the carcasses begin to decompose.

"I don't know how far it's buried in the sand, but as it decomposes over the winter and into the summer, it's going to attract a lot of seagulls, lot of flies, and it's gonna be really yucky on that beach because the mammals are not buried close enough to the embankment and deep enough," he said. "So it's gonna be a mess there when the summertime comes.

"If you don't smell it and you don't see it, I'll be very surprised," said Crocker.

Natural Resources officials say the carcasses were buried about two metres into the sand and that is the best way to dispose of them to protect the shoreline.

Crocker says beached whales are not a common sight in the area. He saw the carcasses before they were buried.

"There was a lot of damage around the head and lower part of the female's body," he said. "It looked like it possibly got hit by cruise ships or freighters in the area," he said.

"To see a mammal lying on the beach like that, it's sad."

Officials believe the damage to the whale carcasses was likely caused by waves brushing their bodies against nearby rocks.

The whales were two females and their offspring. Female long-finned pilot whales reach a length of 5.5 metres and weigh up to 1,300 kilograms.

Pilot whales are notorious for becoming stranded, especially in groups. There are a number of theories for the behaviour, including being confused by geomagnetic anomalies or following a sick member of their group who became stranded.


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