Dead fin whale washes up on Devon beach

image captionThe whale is thought to be about 30ft long

A dead whale has washed up on the Devon coastline.

The mammal's body was discovered on Red Rock beach near Dawlish Warren on Thursday morning.

Coastguards had been tracking the 30ft (9.1m) whale as it drifted down the coast, after it was mistaken for an upturned boat.

Initially thought to be a sperm whale, it has since been confirmed as a fin whale by Rob Deaville of the Zoological Society of London.

Teignbridge Council, which has begun work to remove the whale, has advised members of the public not to approach the badly-decomposed carcass.

image captionThe whale has now been taped off to keep people away

What happens now?

  • A decomposing whale can be a public health risk and the local council will have to dispose of the body
  • In some cases they can be left to rot naturally or buried
  • Many are taken to landfill sites while others are disposed of through incineration or rendering

The whale has been attracting a crowd throughout the day, with people describing it as a "magnificent beast" and saying it "deserved respect".

"It's so beautiful", described one onlooker. "It's the closest I'm ever going to get to a whale, so I feel very, very sad."

image captionThe markings on the jaw have led marine organisations to confirm that it is a fin whale

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