Swimming has been banned at uMhlanga beach after a whale carcass washed up on the shore, the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board said on Wednesday.
Spokesperson Wayne Harris said it appeared to be a humpback whale which is quite common on the coastline.
Harris said the whale washed up just before sunset on Tuesday afternoon and by Wednesday morning was still there.
When asked what could have caused this, Harris said humpback whales feed in the Antarctic in the summer months.
“During winter they mate and do not feed. It could be that the animal was not in the best physical condition and could have suffered a natural mortality and washed up on the beach,” he said.
Harris said this is problematic as the beach is quite popular for swimming.
“Swimming has been banned, because the blubber that is given off by the whale attracts sharks and other predators. So there is a high risk at the moment,” he said.
Harris said the local authorities would have to remove and dispose of the carcass.
“I’m sure the municipality has been informed and a plan is under way to remove the carcass to a suitable dump site,” he said.
Harris warned against the consumption of the meat.
“There could be a lot of toxins, and in addition, no one is allowed to be in possession of the meat,” Harris said.
Local resident, Sudhir Balli said lots of people were gathered at the scene to take pictures.
The area has been cordoned of by SAPS.