The 60,000-pound adult gray whale was decaying under the hot sun this past week, while officials debated the best way to dispose of the marine mammal. Its body went through cycles of bloating and softening, oozing blood and guts into the sand, as it released a horrendous stench, according to the OC Register.
Officials finally began a long and gooey removal process on Thursday.
“It’s going to be something you can’t unsee,” Rich Haydon, state parks superintendent, told the OC Register. “It’s not going to be pretty.”
It will take two days to complete the removal, costing the state a total of $30,000.
The gruesome process was not the state’s first choice, but dropping tides made hauling the whale out to sea impossible and the cobblestone beach it was on made a beach burial equally implausible.
Officials had run out of options by Wednesday. If left there to decompose, the carcass would “reach a point where an indescribable muck will come out,” Mike Bursk, captain of a research vessel for the Ocean Institute, told the OC Register.
Before the removal process began, people who could stand the smell of the rotting carcass traveled to the location just to take pictures of it. Now park rangers have blocked off public access to the carcass, leaving only those tasked with hauling the dead animal away to witness the morbid event.
“Who’s used to watching things being shredded?” Ron Schultz, a truck driver who has been hauling the whale parts away, told the LA Times. “It’s kind of a trip, but really, I think it’s sad.”
Schultz said he’s using Vick’s Vapor Rub to cover the stench, adding that “there’s no joy in watching this happen.”
Below, see the final tragic chapter for this gentle sea giant — minus the stench — before it’s buried in a trash-filled grave.
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