Authorities leave dead whale, let nature take its course

SHARK BITTEN: Sharks have partially devoured the carcass of a whale washed up on Back Beach at Angourie over the weekend.
SHARK BITTEN: Sharks have partially devoured the carcass of a whale washed up on Back Beach at Angourie over the weekend.

LOCAL authorities will leave the stinking carcass of a whale washed up on Back Beach at Angourie to the ghost crabs and other organisms.

Media officer for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Lawrence Orel said National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers investigating the scene had decided to let nature take its course.

The dead whale, which has been partially eaten by sharks, washed up on the beach on Saturday.

Mr Orel said the ghost crabs and other beach organisms would quickly finish what the sharks had started.

"It's already partially buried by the natural action on the beach," he said.

"There's only two or three square metres of it still visible."

Mr Orel said the evidence of shark activity on the whale's body had to be expected.

"Sharks do a good job in the wild eating the bodies of animals that died in the ocean, cleaning up the eco-system," he said.

Mr Orel said it was hard to say how long it could take for the body to completely disappear.

"It's hard to say accurately, but it won't be too long," he said.

"It can depend a bit on the wave and sea action, but once the crabs get to work on it, the remains tend to disappear pretty quickly."

In other marine news a local surfer has reported seeing a large shark in the water off Turners Beach at Yamba.


  •  Humpback Whales are the most commonly seen whales off the Clarence Coast.
  •  They migrate up the east coast of Australia during winter months, for calving and mating around the Great Barrier Reef, before heading back to the Southern Ocean for the summer.
  •  They measure about 4m in length at birth, following an 11-month gestation period. They double their size within a year, by which time they are weaned.
  •  Physical maturity is reached between 5-10 years and the average length of adult whales is approximately 14-15 m. Females are slightly longer than males.
  •  Sexual maturity is reached before physical maturity. Although it is theoretically possible for a sexually mature female to calve at yearly intervals, it is likely that calving is followed by one or even two resting years.
  •  The minimum life-span of individuals in the non-exploited state is about 20-25 years.

Topics:  angourie beach nsw office of environment and heritage whale

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