The whale was covered with a number of shark bites and was believed to be a juvenile humpback. The whale was also missing its tail, an official with the National Parks and Wildlife Service told AAP.
Simon Krite was headed to surf at around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning when he spotted the carcass.
“There was no one around it, I thought I better get a photo of that it looks really cool,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. After taking a picture, he surfed for several hours.
Bondi Beach has been closed after the headless carcass of a whale calf washed ashore overnight https://t.co/Rz6l0ZeDnJ
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) August 28, 2018
Body Moved, Beach Closed
By 8 a.m., the Waverly Council had moved the body and closed the beach, citing increased risk of shark activity.
Around midday, the decision was made to keep the beach closed for the rest of the day, though a council representative said it would likely reopen early Wednesday.
While government experts involved in moving the carcass said the cause of death for the whale was unknown, associate professor Culum Brown, head of the Fish Lab at Macquarie University, told the Herald that juvenile whales are the perfect choice of a meal for large sharks.
“They will get chomped, there’s no doubt about that, and once it’s dead then pretty much anything can have a go at it,” Brown said, noting the carcass had to be removed or it would attract sharks even though it was on the sand.
Brown said that carcasses do bring increased shark activity but that sharks are always in the water.
“The reality is there are sharks in the water all the time, that’s just the way it is, that’s where they live,” he said. “Let’s keep in mind, over 300 people die from drowning on our beaches every year, and less than one from a shark bite so if something’s going to happen to you at the beach, chances are it’s not going to have anything to do with a shark.”
Dead whale calf closes Bondi Beach https://t.co/F0hWPa6Pku
— NewsfeedsMedia (@NewsfeedsMedia) August 28, 2018
There have been three shark attacks at Bondi Beach since 1990, reported News.co.au, citing Finder. The last one, in 2010, left a 33-year-old surfer with severe arm injuries but he eventually recovered.
The beach has offshore shark nets but some sharks still get through.
According to the Taronga Conservation Society, there have been 13 recorded attacks nationwide in 2018, four of which have occurred in New South Wales, the state Bondi Beach is located in.
In 2017, there were 18 total attacks recorded.
The last fatal shark attack took place last year in April, at Kelp Beds at Wylie Bay in Western Australia.
The victim’s mother and two siblings witnessed the attack, reported ABC. The teenage girl was attacked while surfing with her father, who dragged her to shore. She later died at a hospital.