FILE: A 14.8m Humpback whale beached at the Melkbaai Beach in Strand, Western Cape.

STRAND – Melkbaai Beach in the Western Cape is temporarily closed as emergency officials remove a female whale carcass found beached on Wednesday morning.

The 14.8m Humpback whale was spotted onshore on Tuesday night.

Rescue operations immediately kicked in but the aquatic marine mammal was confirmed dead this morning.

It is not yet clear why it beached but there are suspicions it might have been hit by a vessel.

The beach is expected to be reopend later on Wednesday afternoon.

Nearby beaches will also be temporarily closed as a precautionary measure to prevent sharks that might be drawn to the vicinity by the carcass.