Posted by: The ocean update | September 5, 2016

Washed up whale (Australia)

The 14-metre humpback whale washed up on Grassy Head beach died of unknown causes and was buried in the dunes behind the beach.

The 14-metre humpback whale washed up on Grassy Head beach died of unknown causes and was buried in the dunes behind the beach.

September 5th, 2016 (Geordie Bull). MANAGER of Grassy Head Holiday Park Margaret Burton didn’t believe reports of a huge whale on the beach because she thought people were joking.

The 14-metre humpback washed up dead on Grassy Head beach on Thursday and was examined by National Parks and Wildlife staff before being removed from the beach on the weekend.

Mrs Burton said she had several people inform her that there was a whale on the tidal mark and it was decomposing.

“I didn’t believe them because people are always pulling my leg around here!” she told the Argus.

National Parks area manager Russell Madeley said there were no obvious signs of injury to the whale and the cause of death ‘could not be determined’.

“It was an adult whale but not too old,” Mr Madeley said. “I think mother nature just took its course on it.”

Mr Madeley said National Parks would not conduct an autopsy on the animal because it was not rare or obviously ill.

“Whales do wash up on the beach from time to time,” he said.  “Anyone who discovers a whale on the beach should call their local National Parks office.”

Kempsey Shire Council workers disposed of the whale in the adjacent dunes under the guidance of National Parks.

Council director of infrastructure Robert Scott said it took a large bulldozer, an excavator and several staff to move it off the beach.

“Staff told me the tail alone was four metres across,” Mr Scott said.

“They had to dig a large hole behind the dunes and place the whale in it.

“Because of the size of the whale any other options for removal were ruled out.”

Mr Scott said council had only removed two whales from local beaches in the past decade.

“We had one other whale wash up six years ago and we had to do the same thing,” he said.

“Luckily it’s a rare occurrence as dealing with a dead creature of that size is not a pleasant task for staff.”

Humpback whales are now migrating south and can be spotted from headlands all along the coast. Some of the best places for whale spotting include Smokey Cape headland and Crescent Head.

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