The man leading the
"My commitment when I came in was to do at least one whale and my hope is to do both of them,"
"We're doing the
"I've incurred a few expenses that I hadn't expected so it's going to be tight to do both whales."
Those extra costs include towing the first carcass from
They are among nine rare and endangered whales that became trapped in pack ice earlier this spring. It's believed they were either crushed or drowned as they tried to surface to breathe.
"We're only a small town," Nicolle said earlier this month. "We don't have a budget large enough to take care of that whale."
But Engstrom, who has dealt with the remains of several other whale species, said even he was surprised at the huge challenge posed by the biggest animal on the planet.
Squawking sea gulls feasted Sunday as Engstrom's team of museum staff and several local men used flensing knives to remove tonnes of blubber and skeletal muscle from the 23-metre female whale. She is now exposed past her enormous rib cage as her bones are removed, labelled and stored in an 18-wheel truck.
The stench has been powerful enough at times that even seasoned fishermen have gagged.
"Looking at the magnitude of the job and getting to understand the skill sets that are required, it's highly unlikely that this could have been done with a local effort.
"The cost is certainly piling up."
Engstrom declined to discuss budget details. But he had said in an earlier interview that expenses to be absorbed by the museum would reach tens of thousands of dollars and he hoped they wouldn't exceed
But as the federal government passed responsibility to the province and provincial officials stayed quiet, the museum stepped in.
"It's this once-in-a-lifetime event and we would hope and keep our fingers crossed that nothing like this ever happens to the blue whale population ever again," Parsons said in an interview.
"But I believe from the tragic event there can be a very positive outcome for this, not only for the
"With the fishery dying more each day, and with the cutbacks that government is giving us, this blue whale exhibit in the enclave of a national park could be nothing but a positive thing for this little town."
Northwest Atlantic blue whales are endangered with an estimated population of just 250 before the nine known deaths.
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