Fears that dead 60-foot-long whale in Ireland could explode sends experts scrambling

The experts in the field of wildlife have been asked to abjure the autopsy performed on the massive fin whale carcass which was found on an island in Ireland due to the sound coming from the animal’s stomach suggested it might explode if cut open.

The fin whale that died ( Balaenoptera physalus) estimated to be around the size of 62ft (19 meters) long, was found in the early morning hours of July 9 on Baile Ui Chuill Strand, in County Kerry, the Irish Examiner said. The cause of death is unclear however, the huge whale likely been dead for close to three weeks prior to the time it washed up on the shore according to the rate of decay.

The experts from experts from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) arrived on the scene to take samples for necropsy or autopsy of an animal however they were forced be stopped due to the fear that the body might explode.

“I got blubber, baleen and skin,” Stephanie Levesque the Strandings officer at IWDG said to The Irish Examiner. “I was going to attempt to get some muscle but I heard some sounds and was like, this is going to explode in my face if I go any deeper.”
Experts reported hearing “bubbling” noises coming from the dead fin whale which indicates methane gas was produced inside the carcass. (Image credit: Valerie O’Sullivan)

If whales pass away, their stomachs begin to fill up with methane gas. This often causes the bodies to expand like a balloon, then flot on the surface of the ocean -sometimes floating onto shore, like a fin whales that have died. If the concentration is high enough and when it is mixed with air oxygen, methane gas may cause whales explode, either by themselves when pressure rises or when the carcasses are opened up, though it is uncommon, Levesque told Live Science in an email.

In 2013 a marine biologist from the Faroe Islands had a lucky escape when an Sperm whale ( Physeter macrocephalus) which washed up dead violently, exploded after the scientist cut the stomach of the animal, The Guardian announced that day. In 2019 unidentified baleen whales spontaneously was able to explode on the surface of the ocean near on the shores of California in California, releasing guts and blood into the sea in the words of The IFLScience.

Sometimes, wildlife officials intentionally detonate gas-filled corpses as they are washed up, to stop the bodies from decomposing slowly and releasing smells that turn off people who visit. The most well-known example of this was in the year 1970 when a 45-foot (14 m) Sperm whale washed up in Florence, Oregon, was destroyed by half a tonne of explosives which caused an immense blast that completely destroyed the remains.

The fin whale was discovered in Ireland It was later evident that this whale is not likely to explode, and is now decomposing in a natural way, Levesque told Live Science. “There was some bubbling [sounds] but nothing that led me to believe it would actually explode.” The necropsy was stopped as a precautionary measure to be sure that the body’s cavity was not damaged and safe, she said.

The explosive explosion from a whale brimming with dynamite was recorded on one Oregon beach in the year 1970. (Image credit: KATU)

In general, one to two fin whales swim in Ireland every time, Levesque informed The Irish Examiner.

There are approximately 100,000 fin whales in the world However, this species is considered at risk of extinction because of threats like climate changes, plastic pollution and the overfishing of krill, their favourite food sourceand by humans, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

However, populations are beginning to grow from the lows that were due to the whaling industry during the 20th and 19th centuries. In the month of January, 2022, nearly 1,000 whales — the largest grouping of the species that has ever been observed ever seen grazing on huge krill masses within Antarctica.


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