The carcass of a 14-metre (46-foot) southern right whale has washed ashore in the south coast tourist town of Knysna, where volunteers Thursday were trying to haul it from rocks and back out to sea.
A crew from the National Sea Rescue Institute initially thought the whale was an overturned ship, spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.
The whale washed up on rocks just off the coast on Wednesday afternoon, frustrating efforts to haul it back out to sea.
Volunteer crew returned to the scene early Thursday "to investigate any possibility of removing the carcass on the seaward side and possibly towing it out to sea using sea rescue craft," Lambinon said.
But the crew decided the carcass would best be removed from land, leaving it rotting on the rocks for now.
Explore further: Sufficient food vital for functioning ram sperm