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No decision yet on the future of a whale carcass attracting sharks found off Port Adelaide

By on August 23, 2021 0

Authorities are still deciding what to do with a humpback whale carcass floating off Port Adelaide.

DISCLAIMER: This story contains graphical content that readers may find distressing.

The body of the dead whale was first spotted in the Port River on Sunday, but went missing Monday evening.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service SA then spotted him at a place called Section Bank, off the northern end of Torrens Island, between Outer Harbor and St Kilda, late this morning.

Parts of the carcass shattered after being attacked by at least two great white sharks, seen in a gruesome video.

Jon Emmett of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of South Australia said a large high tide in the Port River overnight carried it into the river and then back into the Gulf of St. Vincent.

The carcass of the whale lying in the water off the outer harbor. (

ABC News: Brant Cumming


He said it was not unusual for ships to strike whales.

“If you see a big container ship – a big international ship these days – they’ve got a big bulbous part at the bow of the ship,” he said.

“If it hits a whale, sometimes the whale’s body can actually be carried over the bulbous part of the arc for hundreds or thousands of miles, so we don’t know where it happened.

“The South Australian Museum, who was there with us [on Monday], said looking at the whale’s condition, she may have been dead for over a week.

A boat near a dead whale in the water
A marine park boat approaches the dead whale today.(

ABC News


Similar incident 20 years ago

Mr Emmett said a similar incident occurred in 2001, when a ferry to Kangaroo Island struck a southern right whale and killed it.

The sharks then devoured the carcass and people were filmed standing on it.

“Certainly whales visit our waters; it is not often, however, that we bring the body of a whale like this onto the bow of a ship,” he said.

“Then when the ship stopped at Port Adelaide, the whale broke away from the bow of the ship and stayed in the Port River for a while and the sharks followed her.”

White shark bites whale in the ocean
A great white shark bites a whale carcass found near Cape Jervis in 2001.(

ABC News


Local resident Mike Sutton saw the whale in 2001 and came to the Port River twice hoping to see the new carcass.

“It was a fascinating thing to see – it’s a thing in a lifetime – so it would have been great to see her again,” he said.

The whales spotted at Christies Beach in June were southern right whales, not humpback whales.

Research opportunity for scientists

Flinders University ecologist Lauren Meyer studies what animals eat in the environment.

She and other scientists traveled to a boat to take a sample of the shark’s skin and muscle using a specially designed biopsy tip.

“We will be able to take samples from these white sharks and from there we will be able to see what the sharks ate as well as the habitats they use and how related they are to other white sharks in the area,” he said. said Dr. Meyer said.

A woman standing in front of a boat
Flinders University ecologist Lauren Meyer stepped out on the marine parks boat.(

ABC News


From this, she was able to determine what the population of great white sharks was in South Australia.

“We’re excited to come out and hopefully do some research.”

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