Teenagers who posted Facebook pictures of themselves playing on a 12-metre whale carcass at Warrnambool in Victoria have been threatened with a $32,000 fine.
The images were published in the local newspaper, The Standard, today.
Department of Sustainability and Environment spokeswoman Mandy Watson told The Standard interfering with a whale, dead or alive, could attract hefty penalties.
"It is also an offence to approach within 300 metres," Ms Watson said.
The department has warned that anyone who approached or tampered with the carcass faced up to $32,000 and jail time.
The 40-tonne carcass washed up at Eagle Rock on July 16 and could not be moved.
The department said it posed a health risk to swimmers and surfers.
"The slippery carcass … is very unstable as it rolls around with the waves," Ms Watson told the newspaper.
"Whale carcasses attract large sharks and a decomposing carcass is a health risk.
"The carcass will swell and possibly burst open as it begins to decompose."
After the picture was published readers took to the internet to express outrage at the actions of the teenagers.
"What right do these morons have to anonymity? Such shameful, pathetic and callous behaviour should be held accountable," one commentor wrote.
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