Massive whale floating lifeless near a beach as officials join their efforts to bring it to land for an examination.
Smartphone footage from the eastern coast of the city of Shantou, in China’s south-eastern province of Guangdong, showed the dead animal, reportedly a Minke whale, after it washed up ashore on 29th January.
In the first clip, the lifeless body of the animal can be seen floating near a bunch of rocks at the coast, while in the second recording, a man tried to poke it with a massive pole to check whether it showed any signs of life.
A third video showed the seven-metre-long (23 feet) whale getting evaluated by a special team from the Shantou Municipal Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau.
They can further be seen tying up the dead animal with a rope to bring it ashore. Police said they received a report regarding the incident.
Cops said: “This incident is currently being handled by the staff of the Fisheries Management Unit of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau of Longhu District, Shantou City.
“This big ‘fish’ may be sent to Shantou University for evaluations later.”
A local who witnessed the scene told Chinese media: “Many people came to see it. They all took pictures and left.”
People meanwhile feared the carcass would explode due to a buildup of gas in the decomposition process. Police said they are certain it would not happen anytime soon.
Associate Professor at the School of Life Sciences at Nanjing University, Shan Lei, said that the phenomenon occurs due to a large accumulation of microorganisms in the whale’s intestines.
Lei said: “When it decomposes, a large amount of gases will be produced, such as carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, etc.
“These gases will make the inside of the whale feel inflated, like a balloon. When it grows bigger and bigger, it will expand. When it reaches a certain level, poof, the whole body explodes like a bomb.”
The researcher emphasised that the phenomenon mostly happens in larger whales.
Lei said: “The whale that has been discovered the most, is the sperm whale. The sperm whale is very large and can basically reach a length of more than 10 or 20 metres [32 to 65 feet].”
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