Nova Scotia

Whale carcass left to rot on Digby beach

A whale continues to rot on a Nova Scotia beach as officials say it's best to let nature deal with the giant carcass.

A whale continues to rot on a Nova Scotia beach as officials say it's best to let nature take its course with the giant carcass.

Paul Gidney found the whale at Sandy Cove Beach on Digby Neck two weeks ago.

"The whale is whitish brown," he said. "It's 19 feet, six inches long. The whale is well decomposed. It's obviously been floating around for a while."

He said birds continue to eat the whale, which is slowly rotting in the cold temperatures. He said on two previous occasions, crews have dug holes in the beach and buried dead whales.

"They need to do something with it," he said.

$1,000 to bury a whale

Gordon Wilson, the deputy CAO of the Municipality of the District of Digby, said because the whale is below the mean high water mark on the beach, it's the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources.

He said it would cost $1,000 to bury the whale on the beach and up to $10,000 to dispose of it elsewhere. He passed the call onto the Department of Natural Resources.

"Most of the shoreline of the province of Nova Scotia below the high water mark is administered and owned by the province," he said.

Leave it to nature

Bruce Nunn, spokesman for natural resources, said they encounter beached, dead whales from time to time.  

"The province's practice is not to remove dead animals that wash up on shore unless there is a prescribed recommendation from the medical officer of health due to some significant health hazard," he said.

"In most cases it's usual to let nature take its course and allow the carcass to be done away with by various other natural elements."

Nunn said the whale should decompose without a lot of stench if the temperature stays cold.