POSTED: 9:29 p.m. HST, Aug 9, 2014
HAGATNA, Guam >> Residents in a small village in Guam are being advised to stay away from a nearly 40-foot dead whale that is decomposing on a beach.
Mayor Carol Tayama says the decision has been made to leave the whale where it is to decompose on the shore. That process has been ongoing, and it would have been difficult to move the carcass in its current condition, the Pacific Daily News reported.
"It's very sensitive right now, and it will keep falling apart if they touch it," she said.
The whale is 38 feet long and weighs about 20 tons. It washed ashore sometime last week, and local fishermen found it Saturday, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency said. The carcass at first was bloated and emitting a bad smell, but most of that had dissipated by Thursday.
Much of what remains of the whale is just skin, Tayama said.
Tayama said people shouldn't go near the whale since even dead whales can pass disease on to humans. That's another reason why a plan to cut up the whale into smaller pieces was shelved.
Authorities say it's against federal law to remove any part of the whale, either dead or alive.
"We're asking people to be patient and bear with it," Tayama said. "In the meantime we apologize for the inconvenience."