Image
© Sunshine Coast Council
The deep sea whales rarely come close to shore.
Marine experts will examine a rare deep sea whale that has washed up on a Queensland beach.

The five-and-a-half metre beaked whale was found dead this morning at Wurtulla on the Sunshine Coast.

It was believed to have died of natural causes.

It was at least the second beaked whale to wash up on the east coast of Australia this week, after one was found on Redhead Beach, south of Newcastle, last week.

The Queensland Museum will collect the Wurtulla whale's carcass tomorrow to conduct research into the rare species.

The Sunshine Coast Council has erected a sign around the Wurtulla Beach whale asking people not to touch the whale, saying it could carry viruses.

Whale Conservation Society's Paul Hodda said it was an exciting find because the mysterious whale is rarely seen anywhere in the world.

"Nobody knows a real lot about them. They are deep sea animals and they very rarely come close to shore," Mr Hodda said.

"Only in recent years have we found out what this thing looks like and that's how unusual and mysterious they are.

"We had a piece of one for 80 or so years before we knew what they even looked like."

Mr Hodda said they were called beaked whales because they have a beak out in front of their heads like dolphins do.

Fish biologist, surfer and recreational fisherman Kris Pitman has spent a lot of time on the water but has never seen a beaked whale.

"It's amazing and really interesting," he said.

Upon discovering a beaked whale on Redhead Beach last week, Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans Australia vice-president Shona Lorigan said the beaked whale was a "very cryptic species".

"They disappear very, very quickly," she said.

"So for a very, very long time not much has been known about them and so every time we even find one that is dead on the beach, it is a treasure trove for the scientists," Ms Lorigan said.