News

Sharks attack whale calf carcass as tourists watch

A shark attacks the carcass of a whale calf off Fraser Island.
A shark attacks the carcass of a whale calf off Fraser Island. Vicki Neville

WHALE watching crowds in Hervey Bay saw nature at its most primal on Monday as they saw tiger sharks and a great white shark devouring the carcass of a whale calf.

Vicki Neville, who was aboard the Tasman Venture, said she and other members of the crew had given the people on board the option of not going near the carcass - but the group of whale watchers, both during the morning and afternoon sessions, were keen to see the sharks in action.

She said she had worked in the whale watching industry for 16 years and it was only the second time she had seen a carcass floating in waters off Fraser Island.

Vicki said it was hard to know what had caused the death of the whale calf.

"It didn't look sick," she said.

"When whales are sick they are usually covered in lice and this one wasn't.

"It was just floating there already dead."

Vicki estimated it had been dead for about 24 hours.

She said the crew had noticed a white substance billowing from the calf's entrails.

At first, the crew thought it was blubber but then it was suggested it might be milk and it was possible the calf had fed not long before it died.

Vicki said the calf may have become separated from its mother and had then become the target of predators.

She saw a 3.5m great white shark attacking the calf as well as several 5m tiger sharks.

"It was very interesting for us to watch and see how thick that blubber is," Vicki said.

She said it was commonly known that killer whales enjoyed devouring the lips and tongues of humpback whales and she noticed the calf's tongue was missing.

"It must be something of a delicacy," she said.

"It was a pretty rare occurrence," she said.

This whale calf carcass was attacked by sharks off Fraser Island on Monday.
This whale calf carcass was attacked by sharks off Fraser Island on Monday. Vicki Neville

Topics:  calf, carcass, fraser island, hervey bay, whale, whale watching




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Robertson overwhelmed with support since serious crash

Family thankful for messages of love and support after horror crash.

Firefighters force entry to rescue sleeping woman from fire

FIREFIGHTERS: Firefighter Paul Sanders at the end of th e shift. photo Lea Emery / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Hervey Bay firefighters rescued the woman from the burning building

Fraser Coast secures high tourism exposure at trade show

Fraser Island sunset  - User Contributed

The region’s iconic nature-based attractions were on display

Latest deals and offers

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Billy Slater talks Origin Team

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater.

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater talks about this years team and his return to...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked