A beached whale's day went from bad to worse recently when it became the victim of vandalism after washing up on a South American beach.
The 66-foot blue whale carcass washed ashore near Punta Arenas, in Southern Chile. Almost immediately, crowds of people took its beaching as an opportunity for vandalism.
Wildlife experts said as many as 50 people surrounded the animal, engaging in disrespectful behavior, such as climbing atop of the whale to posing for photos with it.
Others even carved notes into its carcass, like one that read "I love you, Ana."
Local wildlife experts say they were appalled by the behavior, and that it showed a lack of respect for the majestic blue whale.
They guessed the whale had a rough go of it even before its death and becoming a victim of vandalism. Bruises on its body indicate it was badly injured, perhaps in a collision with a boat, and that those injuries may have led to its eventual deterioration and death.
Need a refresher course on what to do instead, if you do happen to come across a whale carcass during a trip to the beach? First things first: Don't assume it's the best canvas for your love note or the best background for your selfie.
In addition to being wildly disrespectful, it can also be dangerous, since marine animals could be carrying disease or bacteria that don't mix well with humans.
If it appears that proper authorities haven't started tending to the carcass, alert the local wildlife authorities. If workers have already arrived, let them do their work. It can be interesting to watch from a distance, but be sure not to get in the way of their job.
Oh, and guys? Maybe back away. These things are known to explode.