Young whale washes up on UK beach as people warned to keep their distance

Whale’s carcass may carry ‘harmful bacteria,’ experts warn

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 29 December 2023 16:25
<p>People have been advised to keep their distance from the fin whale </p>

People have been advised to keep their distance from the fin whale

A dead whale has washed up on shore on a Kent beach, with members of the public being urged to keep their distance.

A juvenile female fin whale washed ashore in Cliffe, near Rochester, the Port of London Authority (PLA) said.

The fin whale is the second largest mammal in the world, second only to the blue whale.

The PLA has been attempting to remove the carcass however, the team said efforts have been hampered by Storm Gerrit, as well as mudflats along the rocky foreshore and limited road access.

A juvenile female fin whale washed ashore in Cliffe

In a statement, PLA said: “The removal of a buoy also set back our ability to retrieve the whale on Friday. Weather conditions appear likely to improve early next week.”

The team also stressed that the carcass may carry “harmful bacteria” and asked people to keep their distance.

“Our Marine Services team is working to determine the safest way to remove the carcass,” the statement added.

The animal was first thought to be an adult mink whale, but the PLA later clarified: “Images posted to social media have helped confirm the whale is a juvenile female fin whale, not a minke whale, according to the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.”

Last month, a 16-metre-long fin whale washed ashore on a Cornwall beach.

The mammal was found on Fistral Beach by watersports teacher Rob Barber when he was checking the surfing conditions at first light.

The 47-year-old said the whale had earlier been seen looking lost and in trouble around Towan Head.

When he approached the mammal, Mr Barber said he was perplexed as at first glance it looked like a huge mass of rocks covered in sand.

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