Rotting whale carcass sparks shark warning

Rotting whale carcass sparks shark warning in Australia

Sydney, July 5 (IANS) A shark warning was issued on Tuesday in Western Australia after a 12-metre humpback whale weighing up to 40 tonnes washed up on a popular beach.

Western Australian authorities said the whale died a few days ago and washed ashore at a popular beach in the Margaret River region, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Rather than towing the carcass out to sea via a process known as “whale fall”, the authorities will instead remove it to a local land-fill due to the significant threat of sharks.

“Because it is a popular surf location, the decomposing whale could attract sharks to the area, therefore we have decided to remove the animal in the interests of public safety,” WA Parks and Wildlife Ngari Capes Marine Park co-ordinator Matthew Dasey told local media on Tuesday.

Whale falls provide important nutrients for a variety of animals in the benthic food chain, from apex predator sharks through to bottom dwelling invertebrates.

However, sharks were spotted along Perth’s northern beaches in the past week, raising fears of further attacks.

In June, a university professor was mauled while diving 1 km offshore from Perth while a surfer was fatally attacked just to the south in Mandurah.

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