Canadian town tries to sell whale carcass on eBay

May 06, 2014
The dead body of a 15 metre sperm whale lies on Paraparaumu beach on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand on January 16, 2013

A fishing village in easternmost Canada has tried to auction off on eBay a sperm whale carcass that washed up onto its shores.

By midday, the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland had received dozens of bids—the highest topping $2,000—before running afoul of the site's rules and the law.

The 12-meter (40-foot) sperm whale carcass washed ashore about a week ago.

The town of 1,000 residents does not have the means to dispose of the rotting carcass itself, according to the mayor, and Canada's fisheries department declined to get involved.

Worried that the smell from the rotting carcass would soon become intolerable, the town's council voted on Sunday to list the whale on eBay, hoping to find a buyer to take it away.

Federal officials "didn't offer any suggestions about what to do with it, and didn't offer assistance, they just said 'You have to get rid of it', so we decided to list it on eBay," Mayor Peter Fenwick told AFP.

"Frankly we would sell it for zero if we had to... as long as they take responsibility for removing the whale," he said, suggesting that its skeleton could be put on display in a museum.

The eBay listing, after gaining notoriety, was soon removed by the online auction website because it is against its rules on not selling animals, alive or dead, an employee told AFP.

At the same time, contacted the mayor to tell him it is illegal to try to sell the whale carcass.

"We are now at a point where we want to have a look at the regulations and see if there is any way around that," Fenwick said.

He said he doesn't want to break the law by "selling a whale illegally," but added, "we don't have very much choice because if it sits there, as it starts to rot... it will give off a tremendous stench."

Coincidentally, two other Newfoundland towns faced similar problems after two endangered blue washed up on their shores. One of them began to bloat from a build-up of inside, threatening to explode its stinking innards on the town of Trout River.

An Ontario museum is sending a team of researchers to collect the pair of this week.

The rare animals' skeleton and tissue samples will be stored in the museum's research collection, which will be accessible to researchers worldwide.

Explore further: What do you do with a whale that won't explode?

Related Stories

Whale carcass washes ashore in S.Africa

Apr 12, 2012

The carcass of a 14-metre (46-foot) southern right whale has washed ashore in the south coast tourist town of Knysna, where volunteers Thursday were trying to haul it from rocks and back out to sea.

S. Africa issues shark warning around washed-up whale

Apr 13, 2012

South African coastal authorities on Friday warned beachgoers around the tourist town of Knysna that sharks were moving into the area, feeding on the remains of a whale that ran ashore two days ago. ...

Recommended for you

Dairy farms asked to consider breeding no-horn cows

Mar 28, 2015

Food manufacturers and restaurants are taking the dairy industry by the horns on an animal welfare issue that's long bothered activists but is little known to consumers: the painful removal of budding horn ...

Marbling research shows healthy fat in beef has benefits

Mar 27, 2015

Beef with reasonable marbling and juicy taste is preferred among consumers, and industry leaders continue to monitor how to consistently produce a product with these traits. A recent research article addresses ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.