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Whale calf may have died in shark nets

A Humpback whale calf, about a year old, is thought to have died in the shark nets off Umhlanga Rocks at the weekend.

At noon on Monday its carcass was washed up on Umhlanga Rocks beach in front of The Pearls development.

Watched by lifesavers, members of the KZN Sharks Board tether ropes to the carcass of the Humpback whale calf. Picture: Marilyn Bernard. Credit: INLSA

KZN Sharks Board head of operations, Mike Anderson-Reade, said there was noticeable damage to one of the nets and it was suspected the whale drowned after it became entangled in a shark net.

There were signs of damage to the carcass, at least some of which would have been caused by the tide dragging it over the rocks.

A crowd gathered as members of the Sharks Board considered how to remove the four-to-six-ton mammal.

“It was really a mission,” said Anderson-Reade.

“The problem was that it was stuck on the sand.”

Off-road bakkies and a mechanical digger were used to shift the carcass while it was on the shore. When it was in the right position it was pulled into the water with a jet-ski.

“After it left the shore and was caught by the waves it was simple. We then pulled the carcass about 7km out to sea,” Anderson-Reade said.

He said that if the carcass of the whale had been left unattended it might have posed a risk as it would attract sharks. - The Mercury, page 1

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