Big stink over dead whale at Ocean Grove forces exhumation
Following a familiar pattern, officers from a State Government department have exhumed a whale carcass just days after they buried it. The location this time is Ocean Grove, Victoria, but it follows similar events on the Sunshine Coast, Ballina, and Port Macquarie.
It's a whale of a tale that has created quite a stink around Ocean Grove on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula.
A dead humpback whale that washed up near the popular beach and was then buried in the sand by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has now been exhumed over fears it would attract sharks to the area.
It was a delicate and smelly operation as the whale carcass, buried two metres deep in the sand, was carefully dug up and trucked more than four kilometres down the beach, before being taken to landfill.
Locals feared the humpback whale carcass would attract sharks (Dan Feeney)
A small number of locals watched on, making sure to stand upwind, as the decaying remains were taken off the beach.
Local surfer Paul Robson said it was a good result for surfers and the thousands of tourists who flock to one of the state's most popular beaches.
"It's just a relief it's gone," Mr Robson said.
"I'm thankful for the hard work that's been done to remove the hazard."
The humpback whale carcass had washed ashore in a decomposed state (Ocean Grove Voice)
Petition gathered more than 2,000 signatures
When the partially decomposed carcass first discovered washed up on Collendina Beach two weeks ago, officials were quick to warn people of the risk of increased shark activity, attracted to the area by the smell.
But rather than taking the carcass away, DELWP buried the remains on beach, saying it was the best option to allow the whale to naturally decompose.
It sparked fears by the local community that the oil and smell of the rotting carcass would leach into the water and prove an irresistible attraction for sharks.
A petition had gathered more than 2,000 signatures calling on the department to remove the carcass.
The whiffy whale carcass was dug up and taken to landfill (Cameron Best)
Locals voiced their concerns over what they suggested was a "half-baked attempt" to dispose of the whale, while a national junior surfing event at Ocean Grove was also cancelled because of the shark risk.
Facing public backlash, DELWP officials made the call to dig up the remains and transport it to landfill.
"We've listened to community concerns around the impacts the buried carcass could have on public safety, especially with the busy summer season approaching," DELWP incident controller Barry James said.
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