Management of deceased whales

National Parks and Wildlife Service provides a central advisory service for the whale migrations season.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) protects marine mammals in New South Wales. From time to time whale carcasses may wash ashore as part of their natural life cycle. As a central advisory service and subject matter experts, National Parks and Wildlife Service will provide support and advice to other land managers when they need to deal with deceased whales on their land.

Land Managers should call us on 13000 PARKS (1300 072 757) for advice on managing a deceased whale.

Land managers responsible for deceased whales

Land managers are responsible for managing deceased whales on the land they manage. In New South Wales, local councils, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Crown Lands and the Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) generally manage this land.

Practical guidance to help land managers and the community

We have compiled a flowchart and checklists that may be useful for land managers coordinating the disposal of whale carcasses on their lands.

Pre-Season checklist for land mangers managing whale carcass disposal

We developed this checklist to assist land managers with preparation for whale carcass disposal.

Check Action Purpose
Contact Local Aboriginal Land Councils
  • Establish a preferred protocol for disposal of culturally significant species.
Discuss disposal capacity with Local Landfills
  • Determine acceptance requirements or other restrictions.
Contact Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
  • Seek advice on waste classification and disposal.
Contact Roads and Marine Services (RMS)
  • Clarify transport requirements for large animals.
Identify and get equipment needs
Identify local heavy plant contractors
  • Identify experienced contractors with the capacity to assist in retrieval, transport and, or carcass burial.
    If the carcasses are being transported on a Heavy Vehicle, it will be necessary to ensure compliance with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to ensure legal dimensions and you meet weight limits.
  • If the intended load exceeds the legal dimension limits and mass requirements, you may be able to apply for a Permit from RMS on 1300 656 371. NSW Road rules also apply.

This checklist assists land managers disposing whale carcasses by providing disposal options and key considerations such as notification procedures, health and safety and protection of natural and cultural heritage values.

The checklist does not provide complete instructions for carcass disposal or a detailed analysis of all risks associated with carcass disposal. It is the land manager’s responsibility to safely manage carcass disposal and NPWS takes no responsibility for decisions made by the land manager in reference to this list.