The carcasses of two deceased pilot whales washed up on a beach east of Mallacoota last week have been removed and buried at an undisclosed location.
The two whales were among 29 pilot whales and one humpback washed ashore last week in what was the largest mass stranding of whales in Victoria since 1983.
Scientific sampling of all the whales is being sent to the Melbourne Museum to assist with further research.
The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and Parks Victoria removed the two carcasses on Friday, November 30 and buried in accordance with EPA guidelines.
“We wanted to remove the carcasses from the beach as they were very close to the Mallacoota township, the odour could have been very strong and there are hazards associated with contacting carcasses,” incident controller Stephen Young said.
“The beach is used regularly by locals and visitors so by removing the whales the beach can be enjoyed again”.
People are still advised not to enter the water due to the increased likelihood of sharks in the area, he said.
“This is a sad event and we have been very conscious of treating the animals humanely,” he said.
“Having pre-existing protocols in place has enabled us to manage this, the largest mass stranding of whales in Victoria since 1983, in a consistent and methodical manner”.
Mr Young said the burial or removal of further whales at remote Petrel Point is “not a feasible option due to the remoteness of the site and the carcasses will remain on the beach to undergo natural decomposition”.
Signage has been placed at entry points along the beach warning bushwalkers of the carcasses and associated hazards, Mr Young said.