Bubbling lava-like flow of blood oozing from whale
"I DIDN'T expect to see what I saw".
That's draftsman Adam Ellis's summation of the bubbling lava-like flow of blood spewing up from a sand volcano above the graveyard of a dead whale that surfers and residents want removed from Wurtulla Beach as soon as possible.
Mr Ellis, who lives 300m south of where the whale was buried by Sunshine Coast Council on Sunday, had gone after work on Monday to check on how well the job had been done.
What he saw shocked him.
Blood bubbled up from below the surface and oozed down in rivulets towards the beach.
"If it's been partially buried for later removal, that's fine," Adam said. "But they need to advise the public."
He said the council had been trying for years to deal with a feral fox problem on the beach.
"To have something like that just below the surface, critters will come from everywhere to feast on it."
Video footage of the burial which was posted on social media by Windansea Boardriders Sunday night showed the whale being rolled in to a sand pit with its skull and upper carcass just below the surface despite the council's claim it had been buried deeper than three metres.
In just 24 hours more than 3800 signatures had been attracted to a petition calling for the removal of the carcass as has occurred in Ballina and Port Macquarie in the past month after a huge public outcry.
Monday night the council released a statement saying "At about 10am yesterday Sunshine Coast Council officers were alerted to a deceased whale on Wurtulla Beach.
"Officers immediately mobilised and determined, with the advice from the local Coast Guard, that conditions were too dangerous to tow it out to sea.
"Council officers sought advice and approval from the State Government regulatory authority EHP (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) to remove the whale. EHP discussed three options regarding the carcass disposal and advised that apart from dangerous conditions, due to the state of deterioration of the whale, towing the whale out to sea would have attracted more sharks and the whale was likely to break up during the towing process.
"Taking it to a waste disposal facility was ruled due to the fact that the whale may have broken up. Burying the carcass more than 30m above the high tide mark was the most effective way to dispose of it and EHP subsequently approved the burial."
That statement conflicted with earlier advice from the EHP that "EHP informed the Sunshine Coast Council that there was a dead whale on Wurtulla Beach after being notified by Surf Life Saving Queensland lifeguards. EHP provided council with permission to dispose of the whale carcass, but did not direct council on the disposal method to be used. Questions about any future monitoring of the site should be directed to council".
Initially the council had said the whale had been buried more than three metres deep and more than 30m back from the high water mark following advice from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
However Luke Filippi of Kawana Boardriders said while the hole may be three metres down there were two metres of whale in it at best covered by about a metre of sand.
Mr Filippi said it was an open beach that was in a state of constant change.
"It's not even behind the sand dunes," he said.
Mr Filippi said his club was concerned it may attract sharks, that the sand may collapse as the whale decomposed and the potential for smell to be blown into beach front homes by onshore winds.
Further questions have been put the to the Department of Environment and Heritage.
Kawana State MP Jarrod Bleijie has called on the council to listen to the community's concerns and to remove the whale.
Windansea Boardriders president Terry Landsberg said at this point it was the club's intention to present the petition to both the council and the department.