Whale dies after beaching on bank off Suffolk coast

Whale stranded at Shingle Street Eyewitnesses said the whale died shortly after beaching on the bank

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A whale has died after beaching on a shingle bank off the Suffolk coast.

The whale, which is about 10m (33ft) in length, was washed up at Shingle Street, near Hollesley shortly after 15:00 BST on Sunday.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said it was a juvenile fin whale and that a post-mortem examination would be carried out on Tuesday.

Suffolk Police warned people to stay clear of the carcass, which has been tied down.

'Few grazes'

Fin whales

  • Fin whales are the second largest animal in the world - only blue whales are larger
  • They can be up to 26m (85ft) long and weigh 30 to 80 tonnes
  • Fin whales have a worldwide distribution, but they are not common in tropical seas and polar seas with ice
  • They feed on a variety of planktonic animals as well as crustaceans, squid and fish
  • Fin whales tend to live in groups of three to seven individuals, but can sometimes be found migrating in groups of 300

Rob Deaville, manager of the cetacean stranding investigation programme for ZSL, said fin whales were a "fairly unusual species to be found beached in the UK".

He said that last year, out of 600 strandings in the country, only about five would have been fin whales.

"Looking at photos, it does look a little bit on the thin side, so starvation may be a factor but we have an open mind," he said.

Andrew Capell, of HM Coastguard Search and Rescue, said: "We answered the call and we originally thought it would be a porpoise, because we tend to get them quite a bit.

"But we arrived on the beach to find this rather handsome animal.

"There are a few grazes on it where it has been on the shingle, but there is no other wounds or injuries.

"There's a lot of interest today as it is not the sort of thing you see in Suffolk."

A crew from Aldeburgh Lifeboat station was also called to Shingle Street.

Coxswain Steven Saint said: "Unfortunately it had already died when the crew were there - but there were reports it had been in the water a short time before."

Another whale died after being stranded at a beach in Bridlington, east Yorkshire, on Sunday.

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