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55ft Fin Whale washed up on Lynmouth… Wowzas.

August 10, 2011

Lets just be glad we weren’t taking on some high tide reelers yesterday as scientists have just carried out a post mortem on a rare giant whale that was washed up on a beach in Lynmouth.

Marine experts from the Institute of Zoology, the research division of the Zoological Society of London, worked until late last night (Tuesday) to try and determine how the 55ft fin whale died.

The mammal is believed to have been dead for a day or two but the team is expected to announce its preliminary findings later today.

The whale – the world’s second largest animal after the blue whale – was discovered on a pebble beach by a holidaymaker close to the seafront car park early yesterday morning.

Fin whales are globally-endangered species and can grow to lengths of up to 85ft and weigh up to 80 tonnes. They are most common in the southern hemisphere but smaller populations have been known to inhabit the North Atlantic.

The coastguard and other maritime agencies have advised people to stay away from the animal due to the threat of disease.

A Swansea-based spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency told the Gazette that responsibility for removal of the carcass now rested with the local authority.

A spokesperson for North Devon Council said the council was investigating a number of options but it was unlikely that the whale would be removed today.

She said: “We’ve been up to the site and examined the situation and the coastguard has moored the whale to the headland to stop it from being picked up again by the tide.

“We are looking at a number of options to remove the animal but the location of the whale and Lynmouth being where it is has created its own difficulties.”

Keep checking the Gazette website for further updates.

Story: Andy Keeble, North Devon Gazette
Photo: The giant fin whale was found washed ashore at Lynmouth. Picture by Guy Harrop, www.guyharrop.com

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