The carcass of a 30-tonne whale which died when it beached in a west Cork harbour will be to towed out to sea and submerged.
Cork County Council said it had made the decision having consulted with relevant authorities and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group after the whale died in Baltimore.
“It has been decided to temporarily move the carcass away from the pier area by sea and store it within the harbour for a short period,” a council spokesman said. “It will then be moved outside the harbour and sunk at an agreed location to naturally decay.”
The decision to sink the fin whale rather than incinerate it will save the council tens of thousands of euro. County council officials confirmed that the removal and rendering in Waterford of a 20-metre, 50-tonne adult whale that beached in Courtmacsherry three years ago cost up to €50,000.
Earlier this week, there had been plans to incinerate the whale, but the plans were aborted in recent days.
The whale died naturally shortly after 11am on Thursday.
Its death marked an end to a distressing three-day ordeal for villagers and visitors who initially flocked to witness the huge mammal up close.
But the spectacle quickly turned gruesome as the whale, whom locals want to name Finbar, slashed its skin and dented its jaw on rocks in the harbour as it grew increasingly distressed.
The slow death was like “watching a carcass still breathing”, said Colin Barnes of Whale Watch West Cork.
Meanwhile, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is holding land-based whale-watching exercises at 17 locations tomorrow, from 2pm-5pm. Visit www.iwdg.ie for more details.
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