A humpback whale calf washed up just north of Richards Bay on Monday.

 A juvenile humpback whale washed up in Richards Bay after sustaining fatal injuries Photo: Reece Reid

Opportunists have taken pangas and machetes to a beached whale carcass north of Richards Bay, hacking off pieces to reportedly sell for umuthi.

The body of the 7m-long juvenile humpback whale washed up late on Monday after the mammal suffered fatal injuries.

It was initially thought the high tide would carry the carcass back into the surf, and bathers and other beach-goers were yesterday warned not to enter the sea.

Disposing of a marine mammal carcass is not a simple undertaking, and bodies of previously beached whales and dolphins in Richards Bay have been set alight.

Opportunists are hacking pieces off the whale to reportedly sell for muthi. Photo: Reece Reid

While it is not yet clear what caused the whale’s death, marine mammal experts are studying photographic evidence of its remains.

After receiving reports of the stranding at about 21:00 on Monday night, NSRI station commander Mike Patterson went to the scene and confirmed the sighting.

Also read: Richards Bay beach-goers urged to exercise caution after whale carcass washes up

Read original story on zululandobserver.co.za

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