A three-month-old humpback whale stranded on the beach at Byron Bay following what is thought to be a collision with a large boat has died.
Rescuers from Australian Seabird Rescue, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Cape Byron Marine Park were unable to save the whale and it was pronounced dead at 7.30am this morning (Sunday 26 October).
The whale suffered a series of severe lacerations and broken bones near its tail from a propeller and it appears the animal had been unable to swim properly for the past one to two days.
Australian Seabird Rescue spokesman Keith Williams said this should be a reminder to all boaters to exercise caution during the whale migration season.
“A large number of whales, including many calves, are moving along our coastline at the moment,” he said.
“Boaters need to be alert for whales in the area and ensure they do not cross the path of the whales as they continue their southwards migration.
“Calves in particular are inexperienced with boat traffic and may act unpredictably.”
National guidelines require boats to stay at least 300m away from a whale in its direction of travel and approach no closer than 100m from the side.
Pictures: Australian Seabird Rescue.