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20 Oct 2016

Gigantic whale washes up on Southbroom Beach

Shona Aylward (South Coast Herald)

(Photo Credit: John Neaves)

The animal appeared to have been dead for quite some time.

Beach walkers stumbled across a decomposing whale washed up on Southbroom beach this morning.

Madelene Stopforth, (52), of Margate was walking along the beach with her husband  when they found across the carcass wedged up between the rocks, about half a kilometre south of Southbroom’s main beach.

She described the sight as very gory, as the whale’s flesh was peeling off it’s massive body.

“The mammal’s backbone was sticking out and it’s intestines, which were full of gas and looked bubbly, were floating in the water.”

She added that the carcass had begun to smell.

Councillor Dave Watson said he had notified the relevant authorities from Ray Nkonyeni Municipality’s Law Enforcement department, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

“Experience has shown that events like this can have serious repercussions,” he said. “Butchering the carcass, the health hazard, social disorder and of course the smell are all cause for concern, not to mention the number of sharks attracted by the free meal.”

He added that Ray Nkonyeni Municipality is responsible for management and disposal of the carcass. “Usually, the carcass is blown up with dynamite and the ‘bits’ loaded up and buried deep and away from the coastline.”

Mike Anderson-Reade of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board said that from the photographs he had seen it looked like a humpback whale. He added that it appeared that the mammal had been dead for some time.

He said that whales do die of natural causes or diseases, and that between four and six carcasses wash up along the KZN coast during the June and November migration period.

 

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