eThekwini metro police have urged residents to refrain from going near the water where a humpback whale beached at the Umhlanga Main Beach on Sunday. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA

Durban - eThekwini metro police have urged residents to refrain from going near the water where a whale beached at the Umhlanga Main Beach on Sunday. 

"We are urging residents to stay away because the water is contaminated," said spokesperson Parbhoo Sewpersadh.

On Sunday morning a humpback whale approximately 15 metres long was found in the surf near the Umhlanga lighthouse at just after 6.30am.

The whale is believed to be between 4 and 6 tonnes. 

Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA

Sewpersadh said it appears the whale has been dead for approximately 3-4 days and was in an advanced stage of decomposition. 

He said samples were taken by KZN Wildlife to determine the cause of death. 

Hundreds of curious onlookers gathered at the beach on Sunday. Many people took to social media to post their sighting of the beached whale. Some even posted selfies.

Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA

Sewpersadh urged residents to refrain from coming out there, especially with young children.

He said if weather permits the whale would be cut up on Monday and removed in skips provided by the Cleaning and Solid Waste unit.

Sewpersadh said the weather was hampering their efforts to remove the whale out of the surf. But said they were hopeful they would be able to remove it on Monday.

Video: Supplied

 He said in addition, swimming was strictly prohibited in that area since Sunday morning and the beach would be closed until further notice.

He said the area had been cordoned off.