Dead Whale Found On Mid North Coast Beach
Authorities are working to remove a fifteen-tonne humpback whale found dead at a popular beach on the NSW Mid North Coast. The ten-metre-long juvenile whale was discovered by a resident along Lighthouse Beach near Lake Cathie at 7am today.
National Parks and Wildlife Service are working with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to remove the remains. NSW National Parks and Wildlife ranger Victoria Hickin said the cause of death may never be known.
"There's no cause of death evident, so we really don't know why it's died at the moment — we may never know. Sometimes these things are just natural causes," Ms Hickin said.
"With the numbers of humpbacks that we're seeing coming up the coast these days — it's a very healthy population — there's bound to be some natural mortalities along the way that we'll just never know the answers to."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's acting natural manager Ben White said the council planned on disposing of the carcass at the landfill facility near Port Macquarie. He said the council hoped to remove the carcass from the beach by lifting it on to a truck at low tide later today.
But Mr White said workers would have to carefully navigate the mammal's tongue, which has swelled to the size of a boulder.
"It's apparently a bit fragile so we'll be using kid gloves," Mr White said.
Ms Hickin said the animal was "fairly fresh, it's not falling apart, so hopefully they will be able to remove it in one piece".
Ms Hickin took measurements and photos this morning but no samples and said an autopsy may not be able to be organised.
"In this instance, we'll have to say goodbye to the whale," she said. "It's very sad but we also see plenty of live ones, which give people enormous joy and pleasure."
This is believed to be the first incident of a humpback carcass being found along the east coast between Sydney and the Queensland border this year.
// LUISA RUBBO and SANDRA D MOON