Despite plenty of bids being made on eBay.com Monday for a dead 40-foot sperm whale that washed up on the beach in Marche’s Point, the Town of Cape St. George removed the ad later in the day.
But the town hasn’t given up its bid to have someone take the carcass off its hands.
“eBay has removed our sperm whale from their site for violating their marine mammal policy. We have also been threatened with legal action by the federal Department of Environment,” Cape St. George Mayor Peter Fenwick said in an email Monday evening.
“However the whale is still on the beach slowly decomposing and attracting flies. If anyone wants a free sperm whale please contact the Town at 709-644-2290. If you can pay to remove it we will give it to you.”
The opening bid for the whale was 99 cents, but had climbed to $238.03 by mid-afternoon Monday after 15 bids.
Fenwick said he received a call from the federal Department of Environment, threatening possible fines for the town.
“The person representing the department that called said because the sperm whale is an endangered species that it cannot be sold,” Fenwick said.
He assured the caller that the whale was dead when it washed up on the beach, so he couldn’t see the harm in trying to get rid of it.
“It’s not so much that we’re trying to sell the thing,” said Fenwick. “We’re more interested in having it taken away, which would be the responsibility of the buyer. We can’t leave it there, it’s got to go.”
In placing the eBay ad, the town council was hoping that some museum or other organization that could use a whale skeleton would purchase the 40-foot sperm whale that washed up on their beach in Marche’s Point.
Fenwick was surprised to hear that there were so many bids in one day. The item was featured in the “Really Weird” category on eBay. The listing was scheduled for seven days and specified that the successful bidder would have to remove the whale within 30 days.
Fenwick is hoping the interest drawn from the ad might bring some organization to the town to remove it.
"The 40-foot sperm whale will make a spectacular exhibit once the fat and muscle is removed,” he said.
He said the alternative is for the town to hire a tugboat out of Stephenville to remove it, take it to a remote location for scavengers to feed off it and later retrieve the skeleton for a display in their town.
Fenwick recognizes that would be costly, so his preference would be to get rid of it and he said the eBay ad was simply trying to find a cheap way to do that.