Scavenging crowds strip beached whale carcass

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The Independent Online

Slum dwellers have torn apart the carcass of a blue whale that became beached near an elite suburb of Nigeria's largest city.

Slum dwellers have torn apart the carcass of a blue whale that became beached near an elite suburb of Nigeria's largest city.

The whale washed up on Wednesday at Lagos' Bar Beach. By the time reporters arrived on Friday, throngs of people were scavenging the remaining few bones just visible on the edge of the surf.

Gangs of youths wielding clubs and sticks were forcing a steady stream of scavengers and curious bystanders – mainly workers from office blocks in the Victoria Island suburb – to pay an "admission charge" to look. Women and boys hawked pieces of the fatty flesh.

"The meat is good," said JJ Ibrahim, who offered pieces wrapped in magazine pages. "Most of it is gone, so you better buy fast."

It was unclear whether the whale was alive when it arrived.

Although Nigeria has oil wealth, the vast majority of its people remain desperately poor. In Lagos, a rough-and-tumble city with some 13 million inhabitants, meat is expensive because it is often imported from Europe.

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