The bloated carcass of a whale the length of a bus has been found at a remote beach in the New Territories' northeastern tip.
The 10.8-metre-long animal, found beached in an inner bay off Hung Shek Mun, in Plover Cove Country Park, was thought to be a female Bryde's whale.
When marine experts arrived yesterday morning, the rotting carcass was lying partially submerged in the shallow water, giving off a stench. It had a number of cuts on its body.
About 10 government and Ocean Park experts in protective gear were still inspecting the dead whale early yesterday evening. Police said a hiker had reported seeing a "huge fish" floating off Hung Shek Mun on Saturday evening.
"It looks like a Bryde's whale," Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said after seeing footage and pictures of the animal on the news. "It could have died at sea and then drifted in."
Hung said it could have been dead for a couple of days since the carcass was bloated.
The authorities have yet to decide how to dispose of the dead whale. One option would be to cut up its carcass and remove it piece by piece.
Bryde's whales, which can grow up to about 16.5 metres and weigh up to 40 tonnes, prefer warmer waters. Males are usually slightly smaller than females.
In 2009, a 10-metre-long humpback whale was spotted in Hong Kong waters. It was believed to be the first sighting of the species in the city. Experts believed the animal accidentally entered Hong Kong harbour after getting lost.
In 2003, a sperm whale was found washed up at Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. The 10-metre-long creature was about two years old and weighed 15 tonnes.
In 1994, the carcass of a Bryde's whale was found in Tolo Harbour.