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Dead Blue Whale In Newfoundland Could Explode: Town Clerk

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Newfoundlanders have a whale of a problem on their hands, as fears arise that a dead sea mammal could soon explode on its shore.

The town of Trout River is trying to dispose of a blue whale that washed up on a beach after nine of the endangered animals were found dead in the ice off the province's west coast several weeks ago, CBC News reported.

Town clerk Emily Butler says she's been told that the municipality is responsible for the whale, but she's trying to contact a government agency for help because it can't deal with the 25-metre carcass alone.

"We really don't have any resources and we really don't have the expertise," she told the network.

Butler is worried that the carcass could blow up as it has slowly grown bigger. In the meantime, it is emitting a nasty odour and has become an attraction for onlookers who want to witness the rare sight for themselves.

Trout River isn't the only place dealing with a washed up whale. Another has been found near a fish plant in Rocky Harbour, about 90 kilometres away, CTV News reported.

Animals become trapped in the ice every year, but the floes were denser this season, causing issues for blue whales.

Their entrapment was first reported on March 24, when a woman submitted a photo to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and claimed she saw four dead mammals in the ice, said Global News.

DFO researcher Jack Lawson later flew over the ice with a colleague and determined that nine were dead in the water, and that each of them were about 20 metres long, or the size of two school buses.

Over 50 whale entrapments have been reported in the area in the last 200 years, leading to the area's reputation as "the whale trap," Lawson told the network.

They feed on shrimp in the area at this time of year. Easterly winds can push ice from the Strait of Belle Isle into open water and give the mammals an area through which they can swim to feed.

But if westerly winds occur, ice can move closer to shore and crush the whales, Lawson said.

He said earlier this month that the dead whales represent a big blow to an endangered species.

The DFO considers blue whales an "aquatic species at risk" that are threatened by factors such as ship collisions, a lack of food, noise pollution and disturbances from whale-watching activities.

Blue whales are the biggest animals that have ever been known to have lived on Earth, says National Geographic.

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