Sharks circle near a decomposing whale carcass. Picture: RJS Photographs
Sharks circle near a decomposing whale carcass. Picture: RJS Photographs

Sharks circle beached whale

WARNING: Graphic content.

A DECOMPOSING fin whale has left a thick, oily slick in the normally crystal clear waters near Albany, Western Australia.

Aerial photographs of the rotting carcass which washed ashore on Cheynes Beach, 470km south of Perth, show the enormous scale of the 50-tonne whale, which measures up to 23m.

The rotting flesh was "very smelly" according to photographer Matt Smith. And it's attracting its share of sharks.

Footage from above shows a number of sharks swimming close to shore, drawn in by the blubber and oil in the water. It's believed the sharks were as big as 5m and are believed to be great whites.

Sharks circle near a decomposing whale carcass. Pictures: RJS Photographs
Sharks circle near a decomposing whale carcass. Pictures: RJS Photographs

 

The whale weighed 50 tonnes. Pictures: RJS Photographs
The whale weighed 50 tonnes. Pictures: RJS Photographs

 

Sharks circle near a decomposing whale carcass. Pictures: RJS Photographs
Sharks circle near a decomposing whale carcass. Pictures: RJS Photographs

 

The whale was so large it had to be cut up with a flensing knife and a chainsaw, the photographer said on Facebook.

The West Australian reports six truckloads of flesh, blubber and bones were taken from the shoreline to landfill in Albany on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The beach was closed by City of Albany rangers as the deconstruction process got underway. Photographs show the bloated mammal being manoeuvred by an excavator. The machine struggles under the weight of the 50 tonne carcass.

Fin whales are rarely seen and are endangered. Whales migrate along the southern coast of WA at the start of Winter each year.