Whale exhumed from Australian beach after backlash

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Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

Image caption

An excavator removes the carcass from a beach in New South Wales

A humpback whale has been exhumed from an Australian beach following a protest by locals who feared it would attract sharks.

The whale died in New South Wales last week after being found attached to a fishing trap. It may have become entangled 1,300km (800 miles) away in Tasmania, a marine rescue group said.

Due to its 12m (40ft) size, the whale was buried where it had been found.

However, authorities decided to remove the carcass after a public backlash.

“We are using an excavator with big teeth on its bucket to actually cut the whale in pieces,” said Port Macquarie-Hastings council spokesman Matt Rogers.

The “unpleasant task” involved lifting bins up an escarpment and transporting them to a landfill site, he said.

A petition calling for the whale’s removal from Nobbys Beach had gathered more than 3,000 supporters. It argued the burial would attract sharks for years.

Mr Rogers said “the science” did not support such claims, but the exhumation was an acknowledgement of concerns.

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Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

“There are no admissions or mistakes being made. The council simply responded to a perception in the community,” he said.

The NSW government contributed A$50,000 (£30,000; $40,000) to the removal.

Marine Rescue NSW said the trap found attached to the whale had come from Tasmania.

“It looks like [the whale] has actually been tangled for possibly a year,” spokesman Neil Yates told the

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