A 16-metre sperm whale has washed up on Phillip Island in Victoria, prompting warnings about sharks in the area as the government waits for nature to solve the problem.
Just after noon on Sunday, VicEmergency issued a warning about a “dangerous animal” on Surf Beach and Woolamai Beach at Phillip Island.
It’s believed the whale washed up on Saturday.
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The site warned those in the area that “there could be an increase in shark activity in the area” while the whale’s carcass remained on the beach.
The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning didn’t give much of an indication on how long that will be but doesn’t plan to intervene.
“Due to its location in an area difficult to access by machinery or vehicles, the whale will be left in place and not removed,” the Department said, adding that it was simpler and more environmentally friendly to just let the carcass break down naturally.
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The whale didn’t display any obvious signs of injury or death.
Samples have been sent to Museums Victoria.
Whales are protected under the Wildlife Act even after they die.
It’s an offence to go within 300 metres of one, and definitely an offence to interfere with its carcass or take parts as a souvenir.
In September last year, someone hacked the jaw off of an almost 17-metre sperm whale that washed up on the beach south of Ballina, on NSW north coast.
The sperm whale is the biggest of the toothed whales, and its teeth are made out of ivory.
It’s believed the pilfered jaw was destined for the black market.