Graphic image: Beached whale has beak illegally sawed off on West Coast beach

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Warning: This story contains a graphic image

A Gray's beaked whale that washed up dead on a a beach at Greymouth on the West Coast has had its beak illegally sawed off.

Beaked whale washed up on Greymouth beach.

Beaked whale washed up on Greymouth beach.

Source: Department of Conservation

The five-metre whale had its beak chain sawed off at some point in the afternoon on September 2.

The Department of Conservation is asking the public for information on the illegal sawing and is also warning of the dangers of touching a whale carcass.

Whale with beak cut off.

Whale with beak cut off.

Source: Department of Conservation

"It is important not to touch dead whales and it is recommended to stay at least five metres away, and avoid walking in any sand and water that might be contaminated," says Ranger Glen Newton.

He says dead rotting whales can carry diseases that contaminate skin and clothing.

Beaked whale washed up on a Greymouth beach.

Beaked whale washed up on a Greymouth beach.

Source: Department of Conservation

Taking a whalebone or any other part of a marine mammal without a permit is also an offense under the Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1978.

Anyone with any information has been asked to contact DOC.

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