Poachers who took jaw from whale face $88,000 fine
AUTHORITIES have launched an appeal to the local community for information into the disappearance of the jaw of a sperm whale at Patchs Beach in South Ballina.
In NSW, it is illegal to approach marine mammals, even when dead, and to remove parts of the animal, under the NSW Biodiversity and Conservation Act 2016.
A National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) spokeswoman condemned the illegal removal of part of the jaw from the deceased sperm whale.
"We are appealing to the local community to call NPWS on 131 555 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you have any information about the removal of the jaw and teeth," she said.
"Under the Act, the penalty for possessing sperm whale parts is $88,000 for an individual.
"To help protect against illegal trade in wildlife parts it is against the law to have in your possession any part of a whale under State, Federal and international legislation."
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) - Crown Lands and NSW National Parks are working together to get the 54-tonne whale carcass removed from the beach and taken to landfill.
Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA)'s vice president Jools Farrell said she was distressed to hear about the act.
"Sperm whale teeth are ivory, and there is a lot of money in ivory," she said.
"This is very similar to what poachers do to elephants and rhinos.
"There is money, unfortunately, on rhino horns, elephant tusks and the same goes for whale teeth and you can get a lot of money in the black market for them," she said.
Anyone that sees a whale, dolphin, seal or dugong in need of rescue was advised to call ORRCA on their 24/7 number 02 9415 3333.