Pharos-Tribune

October 24, 2012

Officials: Let nature 'take its course' on dead whale


CNHI News Service

ROCKPORT, Mass. — A dead whale, estimated to be about 54 feet long, lied sprawled across the beachfront after washing ashore over the weekend.

It will stay there until nature takes its course, officials are saying.

Rockport’s Department of Public Works, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was tasked with disposing of the carcass, after the whale — estimated to have been dead for two to three weeks — rolled onto the rocky, jagged beachfront.

In the past, Rockport officials have buried smaller whales, but this time large equipment would be unable to reach this beach.

DPW Director Joe Parisi said officials have little choice but to let the carcass deteriorate and wash out to sea bit by bit.

A stench emitting from the rotting carcass is expected to remain until the carcass washes out to sea or is tempered by oncoming cold weather.

“It’s not the heart of the beach season and it’s not in a location where people are going to the beach,” Parisi said.

The whale had been dead too long for the volunteers to decipher the cause of death.

Finback whales, an endangered species, are the second longest whale in the world, and known for their slender, agile and quick bodies.

Two Rockport residents, said they had experienced a lot of ocean side events in their 17 years of residence, but this type of whale sighting was a first.

“We thought we’d seen it all, but never this,” Marie Alfieri said.


Details for this story were provided by the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times.