Huge sperm whale washes up on Sydney beach
A dead 10-metre (32-feet) sperm whale has washed up on a Sydney beach, with rescuers struggling Thursday to remove it as the animal's blood runs into the water, attracting sharks.
The carcass, believed to weigh up to 12 tonnes, beached on a rock platform at Newport on Sydney's Northern Beaches and is proving difficult to shift.
Reports said it was badly decomposed and missing its tail, making it impossible to tow out to sea.
Northern Beaches area manager for National Parks and Wildlife Service, Chris Grudnoff, said it was hard to know what to do.
"The tide's wrong, the mass size of the mammal makes this situation difficult and there was a choppy southerly blowing which made getting a boat in impossible," Grudnoff told the local Manly Daily newspaper.
"We haven't had that much experience in Sydney with large dead whales. It's a whole new ball game so we are waiting for advice from a marine expert before we make a decision as to how we will move it."
A local council official said the solution may be to cut the whale into smaller pieces and drag them off the rocks.
In the meantime, the beach has been shut as blood from the whale drips into the water, attracting sharks.
It was not known how the whale died, although a wildlife official said it looked like the tail had been been taken off by sharks based on teeth marks, with bites also on its head and dorsal fin.
Whale beachings are relatively common in Australia, though they usually occur in the summer months of December around the far southern island state of Tasmania. Such events are less common in Sydney.
(c) 2011 AFP