Xpat Magazine September, 2006
On Jan. 29, 2004, the largest whale ever recorded in Taiwan exploded on a busy Tainan city street drenching cars, storefronts, and bystanders with rotten blood and entrails. It was awesome.
Two weeks prior to this event, a boat struck the whale, severing its spinal nerves and rendering it paralyzed. During the following weeks it drifted into shallow water.
The mammal was nearly dead when it was found beached on Jan. 24 and died before help arrived. It took 13 hours, three large lifting cranes, and 50 workersto load the 17-meter (56-foot) behemoth onto a trailer bound for
the Sutsao Wild Life Reservation Area for an autopsy. According to the Taiwan News, more than 600 local spectators, including food and drink vendors, braved the chilly winter weather to watch the operation.
The whale was being transported through the center of Tainan when it burst amid throngs of spectators showering all with blood and cetacean innards.
Professor Wang Chien-ping of the National Cheng Kung University performed the autopsy. “Because of the natural decomposing process, a lot of gasses accumulated,” Wang explained. “And when the pressure build-up was too great, the whale’s belly exploded,” he added
“What a stinking mess,” said one resident. “This blood and other stuff that blew out on the road is disgusting, and the smell is really awful.”
The whale eventually made it to the Sutsao Wild Life Reservation Area where over 100 Tainan residents came to see it. According to the Taipei Times newspaper, most of the visitors were jealous Taiwanese men who wanted to experience the size of the whale’s 1.6-meter (five-foot) penis, that looked like “a thick water pipe”. How these men actually experienced this beast’s admirable genitalia, and whether any charges were laid, is unknown.
Throughout the following year, Professor Wang completed a bone and organ presentation that remains on display at the Tai Jiang Cetacean Museum.