Zombie whale hits Sydney shore.

27 Apr 2011 0 Share

When stumbling across marine animals that have seen better days, stand upwind.

When stumbling across marine animals that have seen better days, stand upwind.

Environmental News
April 27, 2011
Words by Bridget Reedman

The whales tail, jaw and tongue missing. Fleshy parts of the whale are prime for a sharks lunch. Sharks were seen feeding on the carcass as it was washed onto the rock platform.

The whales tail, jaw and tongue missing. Fleshy parts of the whale are prime for a sharks lunch. Sharks were seen feeding on the carcass as it was washed onto the rock platform.

Braving the wind and rain, beachgoers at Newport Beach found an unexpected marine mammal on the rocks yesterday afternoon. A ten tonne, dead and dismembered Sperm whale.

Prevailing wind, swell and currents transported the bloated whale and at high tide the whale was washed onto the rock platform at north Newport Beach around 3:30pm yesterday.

Believed to have been dead for several days, the whale was sighted off Long Reef headland midmorning yesterday. ORRCA and Coastguard were alerted and followed the floating whale as it drifted northwards.

The whale’s tail, jaw and tongue were missing, reportedly eaten by sharks. Beaches around the Newport area will be closed for the next few days, warning of risk to surfers and swimmers of sharks attracted by the blood and decomposing flesh. ORRCA (Organisation for the Research and Rescue of Cetacean in Australia) volunteers reported seeing sharks feeding on the carcass as it came closer to the rock platform.

Disposal method of the carcass is decided by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Stranded dead whales are usually towed out to sea and sunk, buried on the beach or cut up and buried elsewhere.

Building swell, difficult location and high tide at 4pm today inhibited plans to remove the carcass. The absence of the tail and state of decomposition meant initial plans of towing the whale out to be sunk were impossible, and the whale will be cut up.

Voluntary organisation ORRCA attended the site taking measurements for research purposes and educating onlookers. The dead whale, about 10m long,is estimated to be a young adult judging from the size of its teeth that were half the size of a fully-grown whale.

Over 10, 000 whales migrate north between June and October. Ronnie Ling of ORRCA reported sightings of during the last few weeks, and recorded seeing a Humpback off Avoca on April 21.

“We see more whales during the Northern migration than the Southern. When they migrate south they sit in the East Australian Current. When they head north they stick to eddies that spin off the current, closer to the coast,” said Ling.

“La Nina’s warmer water temperatures may be causing whales to begin their migratory journey earlier in the season.”

ORRCA, established in 1985, is the most experienced and successful whale rescue organisation in Australia, and are involved with the protection of whales, seals, turtles, dolphins, and dugongs. A 24 hour hotline is open for sightings of any cetaceous animals, if you see any please call (02) 9415 3333.

More Environmental News...

Newport and adjacent beaches are closed for risk of sharks attracted by the oil and blood seeping from the whale carcass.

Newport and adjacent beaches are closed for risk of sharks attracted by the oil and blood seeping from the whale carcass.


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