Australian's Blow Up Whale Of A Problem

Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Australian police have blown a hole in the rotting body of a whale that had become a troublesome attraction for tourists watching sharks feed on its massive carcass. Television pictures were beamed around the world last week of great white sharks tearing chunks of flesh from the dead Southern Right whale while sightseers in boats patted the sharks' snouts and even climbed onto the back of the whale as the sharks fed. Officials were aghast and even considered imposing new laws "to protect people too stupid to protect themselves." South Australia state police and transport officials said they had placed three small explosive charges in the whale's belly late to blow a hole in it and hasten its decomposition. The whale was then towed away from shipping lanes off the coast of Adelaide and the charges detonated. "It was entirely successful," a police spokeswoman said. "It no longer presents a problem." After last week's feeding and tourist frenzy, the whale was towed and then anchored off Kangaroo Island, about 100 km (62 Miles) southwest of Adelaide. On one occasion last week, a man was filmed standing on the whale's back as the sharks tore into it just meters away. Local media reported that another man carried a small child with him onto the whale. Marine authorities have said it appeared the whale died of natural causes. - (Reuters)

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