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Humpback whale carcass sees City of Cape Town call for visitors to avoid Clifton beaches

A humpback whale carcass washed ashore at Clifton 4th early this morning, 4 January 2022, and operations are currently under way to have the carcass removed from site. Picture: City of Cape Town

A humpback whale carcass washed ashore at Clifton 4th early this morning, 4 January 2022, and operations are currently under way to have the carcass removed from site. Picture: City of Cape Town

Published Jan 4, 2022

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has advised visitors to avoid all Clifton beaches until further notice as operations were underway to remove the carcass of a humpback whale which washed ashore on Tuesday morning.

“Law Enforcement officers are on site to secure the immediate area, and lifesavers at Clifton 4th will advise visitors to stay out of the ocean at all of the Clifton beaches as a precautionary measure,” the City said.

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The City was informed in the early hours of the morning that the carcass of a 9m humpback whale had washed ashore.

The National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has been notified and will collect samples and measurements for scientific analysis.

The cause of death is uncertain, but it is likely to be natural, the City said.

A large pod of humpbacks has been visiting the Atlantic seaboard since November and this is the second carcass to wash ashore. On 9 December 2021, an 8m carcass washed ashore at Sea Point.

Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews, said: “Given the topography of the area, it is impossible to remove the carcass with machinery from land. We will need to remove it from the sea with the help of a large vessel at high tide, which is approximately at 16:30 today.

“If all goes as planned, we will tow the whale carcass off the beach to the Oceana Power Boat Club where it will be loaded and taken to the Vissershok landfill,” Andrews said.

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“In the meantime, I request the public to please avoid the area and to allow the agencies on site to do what needs to be done. The City also discourages any bathing at the Clifton beaches.

“This is normal practice along the City’s coastline when a whale carcass washes ashore and is a precautionary measure in the unlikely event that sharks may be attracted to the area,” the deputy mayor said.

The operation is anticipated to be completed only late this evening.

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