A cash-strapped Canadian town left with a bloated sperm whale carcass stuck on its beach has found a way to kill two problems with one, well, whale. Or so they thought.
The gigantic dead mammal washed ashore about a week ago in Cape St George on Newfoundland's west coast.
The 12 metre long carcass, which weighs 25 to 30 tonnes, is the responsibility of the municipality it washed up in.
Mayor Peter Fenwick said the town did not have the funds to deal with it so decided to auction it off on eBay, putting it in the "really weird" category.
Bidding started at C99c (NZ$1.04) and had reached C$2000 before the ad was taken off the site.
It has violated eBay's rule that prohibited items made from marine mammals.
Fenwick said the town also ran into trouble with the Canadian department of the environment, which said selling any parts of a sperm whale was illegal, Canada.com reported.
The mayor suggested the government might like to send someone over to deal with the carcass, but officials declined.
"They've got to sort it out somehow. The uncertainty means it just sort of sits there and rots," Fenwick said.
"I don't know if you've ever seen a whale that's been rotting on the beach for a couple of months - actually sometimes you can't see it for the clouds of flies around it - but you can smell it for about a mile."
Cape St George was hoping to get help from a museum or other organisation that wants the sperm whale's bones for display.
"If we're not allowed to sell it, we're willing to drop our 99 cent price down to zero," Fenwick said.
Two towns north of Cape St George ran into similar problems when blue whale carcasses washed up on their shores.
Fortunately for Rocky Harbour and Trout river, the Royal Ontario Museum stepped in to help remove the carcasses and preserve the skeletons.