Environment SA News

Keep clear of beached whale

Park visitors are asked to stay away from a dead whale washed up on Seven Mile Beach in Coffin Bay National Park.

Keep clear of beached whale
Onlookers are advised to stay clear of a beached Sperm Whale which has washed up on Seven Mile Beach in Coffin Bay National Park.

The 16-metre-long adult male Sperm Whale was initially seen caught on a sand bar approximately 400 metres off shore in mid-June. The prevailing wind and high tides washed the whale onto the beach a few days later.

National Parks and Wildlife Service SA District Ranger Peter Wilkins said Seven Mile Beach is a remote location which is difficult to access.

“The huge size of the whale which is estimated to be around 45 tonne has complicated the situation and has meant there has been no feasible way to move the carcass,” Mr Wilkins said.

“The only option has been to leave it on the beach to breakdown naturally.

“Nature has already started to take its course, and as the whale is breaking down, blubber, oils and body fluids are dispersing along the beach.

“Park visitors should be aware that sand around the whale contains animal fats that are sticky and smelly, and difficult to remove from shoes, clothing and vehicles.

Keep clear of beached whale

“We advise onlookers to keep a good distance to avoid coming into contact with the affected sand and also to reduce possible health risks associated with decomposing animals.

“The carcass is also likely to attract sharks, including great whites, and swimmers and surfers should stay away from the area.

“People should also be aware that it is an offence to remove objects, including whale body parts, from a national park.

“Measurements, photos and the lower jaw of the whale have been sent to the South Australian Museum, to learn more about the species and possibly determine the cause of death.”

For more information call the National Parks and Wildlife Service Eyre and Far West Region on 8688 3111.