An 18-tonne humpback whale carcass that has been decomposing since it was buried at a NSW mid-north coast beach last week has been exhumed.
The 12-metre whale died after being beached and its carcass was buried at Port Macquarie’s Nobbys Beach because it was too big to be moved.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council started the removal early Monday morning and by lunchtime had dug up the carcass with only its liquid remains left on the beach.
“We’re pleased with how smooth it has gone,” council’s development and environment director Matt Rogers told reporters on Monday.
“We are now going through the process of removing the liquid whale.”
The liquids are being pumped into big thousand litre containers which are craned up the beach escarpment and then sucked out by a liquid waste truck before they will be put into the sewerage system.
The carcass was removed by an excavator which used its claws to cut the whale into pieces as it was placed in skip bins and then transported to a nearby tip.
The council decided to remove the whale after copping community backlash because of concerns of heightened shark activity.
Within two days of being beached last Sunday, the carcass had attracted 21 great white shark movements, Port Macquarie Marine Rescue senior skipper Geoff Shelton told AAP.
But Mr Rogers says council didn’t make a mistake when it decided to bury the whale and he doesn’t agree the carcass would attract sharks.
“There’s no admission of mistakes been made,” he said.
“(We) responded to concerns raised.”
The state government has coughed up $50,000 for the exhumation process.
Nobbys Beach will remain closed until the whale and any contaminated sand is removed.