eBay has sunk the unusual auction of a beached sperm whale carcass
Jesse Tahirali and Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, May 5, 2014 12:16PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 5, 2014 4:51PM EDT
EBay has removed the unusual auction of a beached whale carcass in Newfoundland.
The small town of Cape St. George put a sperm whale up for bid with the hopes of finding someone to remove the 40-foot carcass which washed ashore last week. However, as of Monday afternoon, the auction has been taken down by eBay for violating the company’s policy against selling marine animal parts.
Before being removed from the website around 2:30 p.m., the highest bid was $2,025.
But eBay wasn’t the only group to have a problem with the sale. Environment Canada had also informed Cape St. George mayor Peter Fenwick that selling parts of a sperm whale violates Canada’s federal act protecting species at risk.
Fenwick says this isn't the first time a whale has washed ashore in the small town.
He told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Monday that a 15-foot pot whale washed ashore several years ago, but it disappeared without the town being notified. Fenwick suspects that the federal Fisheries Department took it away.
"This time the authorities have told us that it's our whale, it's our responsibility to get rid of it," he said.
Fenwick said he hopes one of the bidders on the eBay auction is still interested in his community’s sperm whale.
“We’ll be glad to talk to them about giving them the whale,” Fenwick said during a phone interview on CTV News Channel. “We’re hoping that’s not illegal.”
Fenwick said the town originally looked at moving the whale with the help of a 50-foot boat, but it wasn't strong enough to move the animal.
He said the online listing was the only solution to the whale problem that the town could afford.
The whale hasn't started to decompose, something Fenwick attributes to the fact that it's still partly in the water that remains at near freezing temperatures. But he noted that the mammal is beached close to a number of houses and those residents are "very interested in seeing the whale gone."
Fenwick added a museum might still want to take the carcass, as the Royal Ontario Museum has already offered to preserve the skeletons of two blue whales that washed ashore last week on Newfoundland’s west coast.
“Say there was a museum somewhere that wanted to put on an exhibit like that,” said Fenwick. “If they can get in touch with us, we’d be happy to donate that whale to them.”