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.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Mary Poppins in the Park and plenty more on this weekend

Local Chalk Artist, Willy Paes has been working on his chalk master piece for the Mary Poppins Festival held in Maryborough on the 5th of July. Photo: Brendan Bufi / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Check out the list of things to do this weekend on the Fraser Coast.

Maryborough BMX stars on fire at the CQ titles

ACHIEVERS: Maryborough BMX Club's contingent of Central Queensland plate winners.

Maryborough BMX Club claimed 30 plates at the CQ titles.

OPINION: The Sharks are in the box seat

Titans player Greg Bird fights with Raiders player Joseph Tapine during the Round 16 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Canberra Raiders at CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast, Sunday June 26, 2016. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Tough to stop Cronulla on pursuit of NRL's minor premiership.

Latest deals and offers

Joel Seeney defies the odds and collects second place in the Max's muscle up challenge

Beating the odds with a point to prove - Maryborough Fitness Health and Bodyworks'...

Dry July on the Fraser Coast

Dry July - Vera Van De Velde (clinical nurse - Alcohol & Other Drugs Support Service) asking drinkers to abstain for the month of July.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Dry July is a chance to abstain from alcohol for the month of July to raise money...

Maryborough mural poject

Maryborough artist Craig Winter dedicates his Kent Street mural to the story of the Bauer Nurses. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Craig Winter is creating the latest Maryborough Mural Project artwork.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward