Curious onlookers inspect the carcass of the whale that beached on the South Coast, and some helping themselves to the meat. Photo: Drisha Pillay

Durban - Residents of the South Coast in KwaZulu-Natal have been hacking parts of a humpback whale which washed up on the beach earlier this week, The Witness said on Wednesday.

Eyewitness Tony Prins reportedly told The Witness online about 50 people gathered to cut off parts of the whale, which washed up on Palm Beach on Monday.

“The animal is being cut open and some of its intestines and other organs are washing onto the shore,” he was quoted as saying.

Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife spokesman Musa Mntambo told The Witness people found with whale meat could face jail time as it was illegal to be in possession of it.

Port Edward cleansing and waste management manager Tony Davis said he was hopeful that the rising tide would wash the carcass back into the water.