A SEVEN-tonne humpback whale has died after it repeatedly beached itself in shallow waters off City Beach in Western Australia early this week.
Department of Environment and Conservation spokesperson Liz Grant said the one-year-old male died at 3am on Monday.
Ms Grant said the whale had become “unstuck” from the sand since it had given up the fight for life.
“It’s loose from the sand now and it’s floating in the waves, drifting south,” Ms Grant said.
She said authorities were unable to remove the whale while it remained adrift because of its condition and for safety reasons.
“We just have to wait for it to wash up because it’s a seven-tonne whale floating 10-15 metres out from shore.
“Experience has told us there isn’t any simpler or safer way. You can’t put people out there with a seven-tonne whale in pounding surf.
“If the fluke (tail), which is the size of a human, came down on someone it would kill them.
“We also wouldn’t be able to attach anything to it because if you start placing ropes around its tail or fins you’d actually pull them off,” Ms Grant said.
The removal of the carcass will be the responsibility of the council that overseas the beach where it eventually washes up.
The whale was first spotted by a City of Cambridge beach inspector about 6.30am on Sunday.
Despite twice struggling back into deeper waters, the whale beached itself two more times.
The whale had visible “rake” wounds on its pectoral fins and dorsal fin consistent with being attacked by multiple killer whales, and had probably beached itself either to escape the attack or because it was distressed from it.
“It had been attacked by killer whales which would have taken a lot of energy to fight … his inexperience also would have counted against him,” Ms Grant said.
City Beach surf and rescue crew have warned surfers of the whale’s death as the carcass may attract sharks.
A police spokesman said a crowd of about 200 people had gathered to watch the unfortunate spectacle.