Gruesome discovery as souvenir hunters mutilate whale
WHEN authorities arrived at Patchs Beach at South Ballina to continue a post-mortem on a huge sperm whale, they made a grim discovery.
Someone - or several people - had been there overnight and the massive jaw of the 17m long whale was missing.
It was obviously done by human intervention, through the use of a chainsaw or some other type of machinery.
It is illegal to approach marine mammals, even when dead, under the NSW Biodiversity and Conservation Act 2016.
Regina Moran from Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council said she was devastated to hear of the theft of the whale's jaw.
She said it would be quite valuable on the black market.
It is not known whether police or the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Crown Lands will investigate the removal of the jaw bone.
Meanwhile, vet Duan March and officer Keiran Marshall, from Dolphin Marine Rescue, are continuing to do the post-mortem on the whale on the beach.
Swell and tides moved the whale overnight, and they are hoping to finish the autopsy today in case the whale cannot be moved and it washes out to sea.
The plan is still to remove the carcass from the beach today and possibly take it to a local tip.
However the tide is now coming in and it is a race against the clock.