• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Dead whale on French beach could explode

The Local · 10 Nov 2014, 16:59

Published: 10 Nov 2014 16:59 GMT+01:00

The whale washed up on the beach in early November at Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, near Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast, is already in a decayed state. It now needs to be moved quickly as gases inside the carcass could cause it to explode.

“Because of the heat, gases form inside the cadaver – hence, the bulging appearance of the whale – and accumulate until they explode,” Anaïs Cheiron, project manager of the national reserve of Camargue, told daily newspaper Midi Libre.

Local whale expert Jean-Baptiste Sénégas, explained that these mammals usually die after collisions with ships. He also took samples of the animal's skin, fat and muscles for analysis, and to complete data on the health of whales. 

Authorities are looking into different ways of disposing of the animal, either via land or sea, favouring whichever approach proves to be “more practical and less risky”.

According to Cheiron, the whale could be dragged out to sea and detonated using dynamite, but boats are not able to get close enough to the shore to drag it out due to the presence of sand banks.

The other option would be cutting the 15 tonne animal into pieces and loading them on to a van with a crane to be removed and disposed of.

Meanwhile, road access to the whale has been blocked and the area around it closed off to prevent people from approaching or touching it.

Story continues below…

A video from 2013 showing the explosion of a dead whale in the Faroe Islands demonstrates how someone approaching a dead whale carcass might be taking their life in their hands.

by Simone Flückiger

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
It's official: France finally gets its new map
Photo: AFP

So, how well do you know the new map?

Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Photo: State Farm/Flickr

Because the men are causing all the accidents.

VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Photo: Gifi

Two sexually-charged adverts have got people hot under the collar in France, a little strange perhaps given the history of the French for making raunchy adverts. Take a look back through time at these famously steamy ads.

Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Students at a university in Normandy. Photo: AFP

... for the fourth year in a row.

Education in France
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Students in Lyon. Photo: AFP

Classrooms overflowing, a serious lack of funding, and a flailing reputation abroad... what exactly is wrong with France's university system? The Local's Oliver Gee takes a closer look.

Studying in France
How to survive Paris on a student budget
Are you a student in Paris? Here's how to save some money. Photo: AFP

With students from all over the world descending on Paris for the start of a new term, we take a look at the best ways to save money while living in the French capital on a shoestring.

Where in France has the cleanest and dirtiest air?
Photo: AFP

No, Paris doesn't have the dirtiest.

Court could give 'depressed' French nation right to smile
Photo: Jens Bergander/Flickr

"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling... (on their ID photos)"

Is Hollande's last budget target really credible?
Photo: AFP

The president says the budget is "serious" but many would disagree.

China turns to Brittany cows to feed its babies
Photo: AFP

Far east giant provides a boost for Brittany's beleaguered dairy farmers.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
2,728
jobs available