Beached Whale Carcass Torn Apart By Locals

How do you dispose of a ten tonne whale carcass? That was the question posed wham a twelve metre humpback washed up on a South African beach. It can’t be towed out to sea as no ship big enough to pull it can get near enough to the shore because of the rocks. The locals, machetes in hand have their own ideas, and are hacking off chunks of meat and blubber. Whaling is illegal in South Africa, so when an unexpected windfall like this occurs, it’s a happy occasion and pretty much a free for all. Whale parts are mostly used for muti, the local word for traditional medicine, and some of it is eaten. The whales penis seems to be especially revered. A humpback’s blood accounts for ten to fifteen percent of it’s body weight and as it flows freely form the dead whale the sea turns red.The smell is terrible and a rotting whale can pose a serious health hazard so local waste management services arrive. Their first idea is to cut up the whale with chainsaws, but the humpback’s strong jaws are more than a match for them. It’s been lying in the sun for two days, decomposing, with gases building up inside the body. So when the authorities bring a digger to try and break the carcass up the insides are soon turned to a foul smelling soupy plump. They try to bury bits of it, but progress is slow. In the end the whale is left for the locals to dismantle and for nature to take it’s course.


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