Posted by: The ocean update | October 3, 2011

Whale carcass attracts sharks at Point Lookout (Australia)

The whale stranded at Point Lockout. Pic : James Stevenson

October 03, 2011 (Suzanna Dorfield and AAP). A 14.5 metre-long humpback whale carcass is attracting sharks to a beach, with swimmers being warned to stay out of the water.

The whale became stranded on Main Beach 2km south of Point Lookout yesterday afternoon and had been attracting the interest of both locals and sharks.

But this morning Cameron Stewart, captain of the Point Lookout Surf Club, said that the whale had died.

“The whale is dead, we’ve erected warning signs and we’re advising not to swim,” he said.

“There are sharks waiting for it, but it is currently too shallow and the sharks can’t get to it.”

James Stevenson, who took photos, said he had seen other whales circling around 300 metres away.

“The Redland Shire ranger (told) the crowd to stay well back so as not to stress the whale – some onlookers observed its eyes opening and closing,” he said.

“One of the lifesavers was saying it was a tiger shark hanging around yesterday afternoon.”

Beach goers have been asked to avoid the area due to the continued shark risk.

The adult humpback whale washed up on North Stradbroke Island, about 1.5km south of the surf lifesaving club, on Saturday.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers are on site with police officers, Sea World marine experts and traditional owners, determining what to do with it.

The whale weighs between 30 to 40 tonnes, and will either be buried or towed out to sea.

A Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management spokesman said sharks had been seen in the water and people are being strongly advised not to go in.

Tissue samples will be taken to help determine the whale’s cause of death.

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