Inskip whale stranding – update

Issued: 22 Jun 2023

Photo of the stranded whale which was estimated to be 12 metres long and weighed around 18 tonnes.Open larger image

The whale was estimated to be 12 metres long and weighed around 18 tonnes.

Photo of the stranded whale which been removed from the beach and buried in a nearby national park.Open larger image

It has been removed from the beach and buried in a nearby national park.

A deceased humpback whale has been loaded onto a truck and removed from Inskip Point near Rainbow Beach.

The whale was transported through Rainbow Beach and buried deep in the Great Sandy National Park to prevent any shark predation and limit any odour issues.

The mature animal was discovered by members of the public on 20 June 2023 and reported to the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

It was estimated to be 12 metres long and weighed 18 tonnes. The cause of death is not known.

More than 30,000 humpbacks are expected to migrate from the icy waters of Antarctica to the warmer waters off Queensland to breed and calve.

Unfortunately, some of those animals will perish from natural causes or predation and can strand anywhere along Queensland beaches.

When a whale strands, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) works with local councils and Traditional Owners to determine the best method of disposal.

This includes burial in nearby dunes, being towed and secured in mangroves at certain islands off Queensland’s coast.

Depending on the location, deceased whales can also be left in-situ, and as part of the natural processes, providing food for birds, crustaceans and other marine and terrestrial animals.

Whenever a whale strands, people are advised to stay away from the animal. Whales can carry zoonotic diseases, so people are advised never to touch them.

People must be aware that if a whale is stranded in shallow water, sharks may be present. People may feel compelled to assist the animal, but personal safety must come first.

All sightings of stranded marine life, including whales, should be reported immediately to DES on 1300 130 372 or to the relevant council.

The QPWS and local councils have highly trained experts ready to deploy to whale strandings, and it is best to wait for the experts to attend and assist during stranding events.