THE beached baby whale on Fraser Island has died.
Wildlife experts and conservationists had been nursing the young humpback for almost two days, and had hoped that they could float him back into the ocean on a high tide.
The plan came unstuck when the animal was too exhausted to move.
The eight-metre juvenile became stuck on Tuesday during its migration north and it was believed it was herded in by a pack of sharks, which were circling the shallows on Wednesday morning.
Rescue team works to save whale
RESCUERS worked into the night to save a beached juvenile humpback whale on Fraser Island.
The 8.5 metre whale, believed to be on its first trip up the coast, was beached near Eli Creek late on Wednesday.
It had refloated but became beached again overnight.
Police, parks rangers, tourists, resort staff and vets from Maryborough and Seaworld were among the effort to keep the animal alive before Great Sandy Regional Manager Ross Belcher said the whale was in good condition.
He said it was relatively calm and remained active given the circumstances.
"We believe it was born last year and was making its first trip back up the coast," he said.
"Rangers have been at the scene since 6am, keeping the animal moist and providing shelter."
Eurong Beach Resort staff were the first to the scene yesterday morning at 3am and started bucketing water over the whale.
"At first we thought it had died, but when the water started splashing on it we heard it making a noise like crying," Dawn Boreham said.
"It was heart wrenching and we all had tears in our eyes."
Two front-end loaders were on site yesterday to dig a path back to the ocean.
Rangers hoped to send the whale back into the water during last night's high tide.
"As a result of the increase in whale numbers on the eastern Australia migration route, more strandings may occur from time to time," Mr Belcher said.