Kent whale 'alive when stranded' at Epple Bay, Westgate

Whale on Epple Bay, Kent The animal was the fourth minke whale to strand in Kent in 22 years

A whale found dead on a Kent beach was probably alive when it became stranded, a post-mortem examination has shown.

Pathologists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have released initial findings of tests carried out after the stranding on Friday.

Experts said the 25ft (7.6m) whale found at Epple Bay, Westgate, had no food in its stomach and also had a heavy parasite infection in its gut.

Further tests are being carried out with results due in a fortnight.

'Uncommon' stranding

A ZSL spokeswoman said further analysis would identify any underlying problems that could have caused the stranding.

She said the animal was the 13th minke whale to strand in the UK this year, but all the others had been in Scotland, so this incident was uncommon.

This whale was the fourth minke to strand in Kent in 22 years, she added.

She said: "The whale was in reasonable condition but hadn't eaten for some time.

"There was no food in the gut, which also showed a heavy parasite burden.

"It's possible the whale initially stranded while alive because it had lost some condition."

And she said there were some minke whales in the North Sea and it may have been one of that population.

The whale was found by dog walkers at about 08:00 GMT and the beach near Birchington was cordoned off by Thanet council over fears for public safety and while the body was moved.

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