NPWS thanks community for assistance with whale stranding

From the surfers who first tried to prevent it beaching to those who helped clean up the National Parks and Wildlife Service thanked the community for all their efforts during last week's whale stranding at Sawtell on 9 to 10 June.

Sawtell whale stranding

NPWS manager Glenn Storrie said despite the atrocious conditions it was very encouraging to see so many people willing to assist during this difficult time, even though the outcome may not be what everyone had been hoping for.

"Invaluable support was also provided from organisations including Coffs Harbour's Dolphin Marine Magic, ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia), Sea Sheppard, Coffs Harbour City Council, the Police and staff from the Marine Science Centre and local vets.

"Local fishing trawler operator, Kane Ward and Jetty Dive owner, Mike Davey and Sawtell Surf lifesaving Club Captain, Steve Rayson were quick to make their vessels and their teams available to support any rescue attempt.

"Veterinarians Duan March and James Osborne from Dolphin Marine Magic and Trevor Long from Sea World provided essential clinical advice on the whale's health.

"ORRCA provided volunteers who helped continuously monitor the whale's condition throughout the operation.

"The efforts of everyone were truly amazing, particularly the Sawtell locals," Glenn said.

"It was that support that enabled the preparation of a plan to be prepared to re-float the whale, however surf conditions were too rough to attempt this.

"As the conditions were not expected to abate for the next few days and the condition of the whale would only worsen, a decision to euthanize had to be made.

"A special thank you to the team from Sea World who drove 5 hours from the Gold Coast on Friday at a moment's notice to provide the specialised equipment and advice on the re-float operation.

"The whale was removed from the beach and taken to be buried offsite," Glenn said.

Images: Sawtell whale stranding