A large section of the coastline in South Africa has been closed after a 15-meter whale washed ashore following an a.t.t.a.c.k by great white sharks.

The whale was removed from the surf after its c.ar.cas.s attracted high numbers of great whites to the coast by Muizenberg beach, near Cape Town, on Sunday.

Authorities have since taken the southern right whale from the beach but have closed off a stretch of shore from Muizenberg to Monwabisi ‘as a precaution.

Shark bites: As the whale is flipped over by the bulldozers, sections of its body where sharks had feasted can be seen

Shark b.it.es: As the whale is flipped over by the bulldozers, sections of its body where sharks had feasted can be seen

Dragged to the shore: The salvage team pulls the dead beast to the beach using a harness

Dragged to the shore: The salvage team pulls the d.e.ad beast to the beach using a harness

From head to tail: A council salvage team member records the length of the stranded whale's carcass

From head to tail: A council salvage team member records the length of the stranded whale’s carcass

Grim task: The body of the whale is prepared before being loaded onto a truck

Grim task: The body of the whale is prepared before being loaded onto a truck

D.isa.ster response teams had moved swiftly to get the animal out of the water and on to a flat-bed truck – no easy task when dealing with a species of whale that can weigh up to 47 tonnes.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, a spokesman for Cape Town’s disaster risk management centre, said: ‘A decision was taken to begin the recovery operation immediately because of the increase of shark activity off beaches along the False Bay coastline.’

The warning did not stop curious onlookers streaming to the site.

Tragic: Workers try to move the beached whale carcass on Muizenberg beach

Tr.a.gic: Workers try to move the beached whale c.ar.cass on Muizenberg beach

Precaution: Beaches remain closed after the removal of the whale's carcass

Precaution: Beaches remain closed after the removal of the whale’s ca.rca.ss

Bait: The huge whale carcass has attracted sharks to the area, authorities fear

Bait: The huge whale carcass has attracted sharks to the area, authorities fear

Locator

Claire McKinnon, manager of the Cape Town cleansing and solid-waste management department, said samples were taken from the c.arc.ass to enable pathologists to establish the cause of d.e.a.th before it was disposed of at a landfill site.

Once the whale was out of the water, a bulldozer rolled it over the sand.

Solomons-Johannes said it was not known whether the whale was alive when the sharks a.t.t.ac.ked it or had succumbed to an il.lness.

Dust to dust:Sand clings to the body of the dead animal as it is rolled up the beach

Dust to dust: Sand clings to the b.ody of the d.e.ad animal as it is rolled up the beach

Taken away: Police officer observes as the whale is prepared for transportation

Taken away: Police officer observes as the whale is prepared for transportation

Final farewell: The whale is driven away on a flatbed truck to be disposed of

Final farewell: The whale has driven away on a flatbed truck to be disposed of

Predator: Great White sharks had attacked the whale - possibly after it died

P.re.dator: Great White sharks had a.t.ta.cked the whale – possibly after it d.i.ed

‘Under normal circumstances, p.redators such as sharks often sneak up on their pr.ey from behind or underneath. Predators don’t usually face off in a f.i.ght,’ he said.

‘A pr.edator goes in quickly and quietly at.tac.ks the p.rey. P.redators choose the i.ll, i.nju.red, young or old animals to h.unt because they are easier to catch.’

In 2005, local teen J.P. Andrews was a.tt.a.cked by a great white shark while surfing off Muizenberg beach.

Doctors pronounced him d.e.a.d on the beach – but he sur.vived, although he lost his right l.eg.

By Diamond