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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 15:26 GMT
Monster task disposing of whale
Sperm whale carcass
The whale was washed up on Roseisle beach
Experts are trying to decide on the best way to dispose of a 43ft dead sperm whale washed up on a Moray beach.

Options include burying it on the beach at Roseisle where it was found by a dog walker on Sunday.

Souvenir hunters are suspected to have removed the animal's lower jawbone. Moray Council has warned the public to stay away from the carcass.

The whale may have been one of a pod spotted by an RAF helicopter crew in the Moray Firth.

Council officials have ruled out using explosives to destroy the body.

They said this would be too dangerous because the beach is popular with walkers and the scene is close to a picnic area.

Last month, search and rescue crew from RAF Lossiemouth captured footage of deep diving whales while training.

Nine whales

The large marine mammals were spotted five miles offshore, north of Spey Bay. They may have been sperm or northern bottlenose whales - both rare sightings.

RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said the helicopter crew counted a pod of nine whales, which they filmed from a distance so they did not frighten them.

The Moray Firth is better known for its bottlenose dolphins.

Meanwhile, the disappearance of the jawbone mirrors an incident on the island of Coll in 2004 when a 56ft fin whale was washed ashore.

The jawbones were removed by locals who thought they should stay in the Inner Hebrides as a permanent reminder.

They were eventually recovered and handed over to the National Museums of Scotland (NMS). Casts were made and have now been put up by volunteers.

Sperm whale washed up on a Moray beach
The beach is popular with walkers and close to a picnic area

Life size replicas of whale jawbones have been erected near the island's pier.

NMS launched an appeal for the missing bones after the incomplete skeleton was moved to Edinburgh in March 2004.

The blubber and soft tissue was removed from the skeleton, which was transported by truck and ferry to NMS research facilities in the capital.

However, it emerged that the 12ft long jawbones - which weigh about 250kg - had gone missing.

They were later found after an islander alerted a local policeman to their whereabouts.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The remains of the whale on the beach



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