Drone footage has captured heart-breaking pictures of a de.ad humpback whale that was found on a beach, with an entangled rope around its tail.
While the exact cause of its de.ath is unknown, it appeared the whale got caught up in fishing gear, which made it v.ul.ner.able to p.red.ators.
The de.ad whale was seen in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with large bi.te marks and a long cord attached to tr.aps wrapped around its tail.
Diving instructor Kevin Rhys Clark spotted the whale close to his parents’ house on August 23 and captured the sad scene using a drone.
He said the animal’s de.ath was likely caused by other whales, probably ki.ller whales, due to the size of the bite marks.
The de.ad humpback whale was spotted on a beach in South Africa with fishing gear and traps tangled around its tail
Drone footage captured the sad scene as waves washed around the animal’s de.ad bo.dy in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The 33-year-old added: ‘After visiting family my aunt told me that a whale had washed up not too far from the house- I sent the drone out to have a look and found the whale straight away.
‘The first thing you noticed were the traps and rope entangled around the humpback’s tale. Unfortunately this wasn’t surprising as several whales have become entangled in similar traps along the South African coastline.
‘The South African version of the RNLI (NSRI) have assisted on many whale entanglements. Fortunately many have been successful but this is not always the case.
‘When the drone arrived on scene you could see a few seagulls feeding on the whale.
‘The humpback looked in good condition except for the entangled fishing gear obviously, but the whole lower jaw was missing.
‘It appears that there are several bi.te marks that seem too big to be a white shark but could possibly be orcas.
The humpback whale is thought to have become v.ul.ne.rable to p.red.ators after getting tangled up in cord and crates used in fishing tr.aps
A diving instructor who filmed the sad scene with a drone said the bi.te marks on the whale’s bo.dy appear to be from a kil.ler whale att.ack rather than sharks
Seagulls were feeding on the animal’s c.or.pse when Kevin Rhys Clark arrived at the scene in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
‘I can’t confirm this but my g.ut feeling is that the fishing gear hampered the humpback, tried the whale out, especially with weighted bricks in the traps.
‘The whale became v.u.lne.rable and fell v.ict.im to an orca a.t.tack – orcas have used the South African coastline to h.unt for many years now.
‘Another possibility is that the fishing gear put too much st.rain on the poor humpback and this lead to its de.ath.
‘It’s terribly sad to see another whale d.i.e from unnatural causes.
‘I’ve been fortunate enough to dive with humpbacks off the coast of Mozambique and can honestly say it was one, if not the greatest experiences, of my life.
‘Seeing them underwater was magical. It’s sad seeing such a majestic animal stranded on the rocks like this.
‘The way the humpback was spread out like that on the rocks was the most dr.am.atic part.’
Several whales have become entangled in similar traps along the South African coastline, according to Kevin Rhys Clark.