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February 24, 2024

Whale carcass removed from Tweed Coast burial site

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The whale shortly after it beached at Casuarina. Photo courtesy National Park & Wildlife Service.
The whale shortly after it beached at Casuarina. Photo courtesy National Park & Wildlife Service.

The carcass of a 3.8-metre infant sperm whale buried in dunes behind Casuarina Beach on the Tweed Coast after it beached and died there two weeks ago has been dug up and disposed of at a nearby rubbish tip amid fears it could attract sharks.

The carcass was removed by Tweed Shire Council contractors yesterday morning and taken to the Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre where it buried in landfill.

The whale, which died from unknown causes, had been buried in the dunes shortly after it washed up by council staff.

Council’s coordinator natural resource management, Jane Lofthouse, said the burial was ‘in line with guidelines and standard practices of other NSW councils and state government agencies’.

But, Ms Lofthouse said, members of the community had subsequently raised concerns about the carcass attracting sharks to the beach.

‘While experts have said the carcass was unlikely to attract sharks, they couldn’t totally rule it out, so council erred on the side of caution and exhumed the whale,’ Ms Lofthouse said.

‘The timing of the removal of the carcass this morning (Thursday) was determined by the availability of equipment and staff and the tide level.

‘Everything went smoothly and the carcass has now been taken to the Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre and buried in landfill.

‘Contractors removed as much sand as was practical from around the whale, however there will be an odour near the site for the next few days,’ she said.

The public outcry over the burial has prompted council to review its strategy for dealing with dead animals which wash up on to beaches.

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