British man could make thousands from whale vomit find
Published Saturday, February 2, 2013 6:19PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 2, 2013 11:34PM EST
A British man appears to have hit the jackpot, but not because his numbers came up on a lottery card. The 50-year-old has happened upon a byproduct of the whale digestive tract that could net him tens of thousands of dollars.
Ken Wilman told British media this week that he discovered what resembled a rock the size of a soccer ball on Morecambe beach, in northern England. His dog, Madge, “wouldn’t leave it alone,” he said.
“I picked it up and it smelt horrible so I knocked it with my walking stick and a small lump came off," he told Sky News television.
Wilman said he left both pieces behind on the beach, but “something in the back of my mind told me it might be something unusual."
A quick Google search when he got home told him he may have found a deposit of ambergris, or sperm whale vomit.
While that sounds like a disgusting-- and useless-- find, ambergris is actually an ingredient used in a variety of products from perfume to spices.
The demand for ambergris is such that anyone who finds a deposit can pocket some serious cash. Wilman said he has been offered 50,000 euros, or $68,000, for his findings.
Wilman, 50, told the BBC that his story is a lesson in trusting one’s dog.
"If your dog pays an interest in something, YOU pay an interest in something," he said. "Because you never know. There's gold out there on that beach -- floating gold."
With files from The Associated Press