A unidentified whale, which washed up on Nine Mile Beach, Tuncurry this morning, has been rescued.
After the alarm was raised Forster police officers were quickly on the scene.
With assistance from a local angler, the police officers managed to roll the whale into the water from its shoreline resting place.
According to one police officer, the whale had difficulty breathing when they first assessed it.
The rescuers were forced to push the animal into deeper water after it began returning to the beach. It was last seen swimming north.
By the time members of National Parks, ORRCA and NSW Fisheries arrived the animal had disappeared.
National Parks and Wildlife ranger, Rachael Kempers from Pacific Palms said judging from the range of photographs taken by members of the public and police, the whale was either a pygmy sperm whale or dwarf sperm whale.
A deep water species, little is know about the sperm whale, Rachael said.
The pygmy sperm whale is not much larger than a dolphin, ranging in size from 1.2m at birth to about 3.5m at maturity and weigh about 400kg.
While it is not unusual for pygmy sperm whales to beach, it is usually about 1-2 a year in this area, Rachael said.
“But, there is a reason for the stranding; it usually means the whale is quite ill.
“The animal’s chances of survival are low, and there is a reason for it beaching.
The animal’s chances of survival are low, and there is a reason for it beaching.Rachael Kempers
“Maybe we got to it in the nick of time.”
By the time NPWS arrived the animal had completely disappeared.
“We did a full beach assessment and we could not see it anywhere.”
Rachael reminded members of the public to contact National Parks immediately if they come across any stranded marine animal on the beach.
More information will be released as it becomes available.