Posted by: The ocean update | May 30, 2018

Rotting 50-tonne whale carcass removed from Albany beach (Australia)

The oil slick left by the decomposing whale carcass at Cheynes Beach. Matt Smith/RJS PhotographsPicture: Matt Smith/RJS Photographs

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 (Liam Croy). A hulking whale has met a rotten end at a small coastal settlement east of Albany.

The 23m fin whale washed up at Cheynes Beach on Thursday as authorities were busy fighting dozens of bushfires in the region.

City of Albany rangers closed the beach because of the possibility the bloated 50-tonne mammal could attract sharks.

By Monday, when the pungent carcass was hauled on to the sand for removal, there were several big sharks around the oil slick.

Two truckloads of flesh, blubber and bone were taken to landfill in Albany.

Another four truckloads were removed from the beach yesterday, along with some of the dirty sand.

Local wildlife photographer Raeline Smith spotted the fully grown whale early on Thursday.

At first she thought it was alive because it was in the shallows with dolphins swimming around it. But the dolphins left the area that morning and there was no sign of movement.

“It washed up right in front of the houses,” Ms Smith said.

“It’s pretty rotten after this length of time.

“You don’t want to get downwind of it, that’s for sure.”

The fin whale is an endangered specie.

Measuring up to 27m, it is the second-biggest mammal on Earth.

Ms Smith and her son Matthew captured stunning images of the rotting whale and the removal efforts by the workers.

“It’s the start of the whale migration so we’re getting all of the different species of whales starting to come through,” Ms Smith said.

“The pygmy blue whales have already been through, the southern rights and the humpbacks are starting to come through.

“The fin whale is an open ocean whale. You don’t often see them.”

A drone gave the Smiths a bird’s-eye view of the sharks near the beach.

“It’s attracted some very large predators,” Ms Smith said.

“There’s some good 4m to 5m whites out there.”

Two great white sharks — measuring 3.8m and 3.2m — were tagged and released near the beach yesterday.

The decomposing whale carcass was removed from the beachfront.Picture: Raeline Smith / RJS Photographs

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