Why theft of sperm whale’s jaw was not investigated
NSW Police confirmed it is not investigating the theft of a sperm whale's jaw from a South Ballina beach last month.
A spokesman confirmed that the NSW Government did not officially report the crime.
"NSW Police did not receive an official report of the incident and as such are not investigating the matter," the spokesman said.
The statement contradicted another official statement from NSW Parks to The Northern Star, issued on October 22, stating that NSW Police were investigating the theft.
"The matter has been referred to the NSW Police and it remains an active investigation.
Anyone with information about the removal of the jaw and teeth is encouraged to call the National Parks and Wildlife Service on 131 555 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000," the statement said.
NSW Parks has been contacted again but no further information has been made available about the issue.
Vice president of the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA), Jools Farrell, lamented the situation.
"This disgraceful act, this crime should never had happened in the first place," she said.
"It is now out of our hands and in the hand of NSW Parks to follow up."
On Friday, September 11, the adult 54-tonne Sperm Whale died at Patchs Beach in a remote area in South Ballina.
Despite calls from ORRCA for people not approach the 17m carcass, the whale's jaw, containing valuable ivory, disappeared overnight between September 14 and 15.
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 the day it was discovered.
"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 carcass was then transported in ten trucks to the Lismore Waste Management Centre.