A BABY sperm whale that washed up and eventually died at a spot known as “Jewells Beach” on Sunday was estimated to be between three and five months old.
John Hoy, a land manager for Belmont Wetlands State Park, said the baby whale – a female – was still alive when it became beached about two kilometres south of Redhead Beach’s Third Creek on Sunday afternoon. He said it died just as a vet arrived.
Mr Hoy said ORRCA – the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia – had inspected the whale.
“They think it must have separated from its group in the past few days, and then didn’t feed and became exhausted and washed up on the shore,” he said.
“Sperm whales are a really family-oriented group, so they reckon if it’d been with its family, they would have stayed off the beach for up to a week mourning its death.
“But they were nowhere to be seen, so they think it must have lost its way somehow.
“It was a baby girl, and from the measurements, they predicted it was between three and five months old.”
Mr Hoy said they had transported the whale off the beach on Sunday night to prevent it from attracting sharks. It was now buried deep “way over the back” of the dunes to stop it from leaching into the ocean.
Local resident Chloe Johnson was part of a group of local people who tried to save the whale on the beach on Sunday.
“We then spent hours in the rough surf trying keep her blow hole out of the water and to keep her upright and as comfortable as we possibly could,” she said.
“ORRCA rescuers arrived an hour or so after, as well as John Hoy and National Parks. They were a god send and helped us so much to appropriately look after her until the vet arrived.
“My partner, Jay, was the person who winched her out of the water as per direction from National Parks and ORRCA.
“We were devastated by what happened.”