Rotting Blue Whale Torments Tiny Town

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Tiny Trout River, Newfoundland, has a whale of a problem: a dead, rotting blue whale that's currently a boon to tourism will soon become exactly the opposite.

The whale washed up on the shores of the town of 600 about a week ago and its 81-foot-long corpse is gradually expanding with gas as it decomposes, like a giant, menacing balloon.

But this balloon is filled with methane that's going to explode soon and the town doesn't have the resources to do much about it.

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Trout River Town Clerk Emily Butler, who has been trying, to no avail, to get government help to remove the carcass, told NTV television: "It's only a matter of time -- as the weather warms up, it's only going to get worse."

And people from the surrounding areas are flocking to the town to see the whale. "It's very difficult to keep people away, simply because it's not too often that you see a blue whale," Butler said.

So how would one dispose of a 420 thousand pound blue whale? Towing it out to see is a no-go, Butler said, since government officials have declared an inflated whale a shipping hazard.

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Discovery News' Kieran Mulvaney wrote that the other option is to bury the carcass. In Trout River's case, though, the shoreline is very rocky and the whale is half in the water, making burying it an unlikely solution.

Mulvaney cited some tongue-in-cheek advice by one biologist: “The simplest way for a carcass to disappear is to turn your back on it and walk away.”

Unfortunately for Trout River residents -- and whichever unlucky tourist is ogling the whale when it blows rotting flesh and methane gas far and wide -- that might need amending to "run."