The remains of a sperm whale that washed ashore in one of Montevideo's beaches were finally hauled in a truck for burial in a municipal dump where a huge hole was drilled for the 16 meters long cetacean.
The dead sperm whale weighing an estimated 25 tons and normally at home in deep waters, was found Saturday on the Carrasco beach, an upper class area of Uruguay's capital. Officials said the whale showed no signs of injuries but samples were taken of some of the organs for forensic studies.
During two days navy and municipal workers with heavy equipment tried to remove the whale from the shore to dry sand from where on Monday she finally was lifted with a crane, after much work to a truck.
Over the weekend hundreds of curious onlookers gathered to look and picture the marine mammal despite an overpowering smell hanging over the beach in the residential neighborhood.
Apparently it was a male, thirty years old. The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales and lives on average sixty years according to officials from Uruguay's fisheries department, Dinara.
The sperm whale are large, they rarely come to the coast since they are deep water mammals. I have no memory of other sperm whales shoring in Montevideo. I believe there are no records either said marine biologist Rodrigo García director of the Organization for the Conservation of Cetaceans, OCC.
Garcia added that these samples have been very much hunted in the past because they have 'espermaceti' in their heads, which is rich in oil, fatty acids and wax.
As to the causes of death, Garcia said there were no evidence of injuries or blows which could give us an idea. But we must take into account that these animals are extremely acoustic, such as dolphins, and are most sensitive to any impact of this kind.
Southern right whales are common along the Uruguayan Atlantic coast from July to October and easily sighted as they wonder close to the shore.