Sunday, 30 October 2016

Rare fin whale stranding in Norfolk puzzles scientists

Experts say fin whales are normally found on south or west coasts of UK, not on east coast
Staff and agencies

Friday 21 October 2016 16.37 BST Last modified on Monday 24 October 2016 18.00 BST 

Mystery surrounds how a rare 12-metre (40ft) fin whale came to be washed up on a beach in Norfolk.

The enormous creature was already dead when it was washed up on Holkham beach on the north Norfolk coast on Thursday afternoon. 

Evolutionary biologist Dr Ben Garrod from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge said it was very unusual for a fin whale to be found on the east coast of Britain.

Fin whales sometimes seen in North Sea
“It should not be in those waters,” he told the BBC. “We see fin whales occasionally on the southern coast or more the west coast of the UK, so Ireland, right up to Scotland. But you never get them in the North Sea, so what it was doing there, we have no idea at the moment.”

It was not clear why the whale died, he added.

A postmortem is expected to be carried out by the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.

The death comes after a spate of whale strandings along the Norfolk region’s coastline this year, with dozens having died in other parts of the North Sea.

A spokeswoman for the Holkham Estate said the picturesque beach remained open and added: “Plans are in place to remove the whale from the beach. Holkham beach remains open, but we advise the public not to venture close to the carcass and to keep dogs on leads.”

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