Having no more places to store gray whale carcasses landing in Washington State, a federal agency is asking landowners to lend their properties as a definitive resting place for marine mammals during their decomposition. .
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries Administration is asking volunteers to use their land as a carcass disposal site, which can be up to 40 feet long. In doing so, they would support the natural process of the marine environment, officials said.
The skeletons left behind can be used for educational purposes, they added.
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"A cemetery for one person," Mario Rivera, a landowner in Port Hadlock, 50 km northwest of Seattle, told KING-TV. "The smell is not bad. It's very intermittent. "
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About 30 whales stranded on Washington's shoreline this year, the largest number in two decades. The gray whale population is estimated at 27,000.
About 70 whales were found dead along the only west coast of the United States. Because of its unusually high number, NOAA said it was "an unusual mortality event".
"With the unusual mortality of these gray whales, we know that more whales will arrive or that it is very likely that more whales will die in Puget Sound and on the coast," said the Center's scientific coordinator. Port Townsend Marine Science. Betsy Carlson.
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Lime is used to decompose a whale carcass on the beach where Rivera lives.
"The lime seems to work," he said. "We are breaking down, I think, it is not that bad, so we hope other landowners will do it," Rivera said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.