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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 13:31 GMT
Fin whale has 'peculiar' damage
Sennen whale
The animal is a female fin whale
A 50ft (15m) fin whale washed up on a beach at Sennen Cove in Cornwall on Sunday has "peculiar" damage, a wildlife expert has said.

Dr Nick Tregenza of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust said the female had an irregular pattern of damage to its skin and excess of damage on its underside.

He said: "It is also odd that it has come into the bay when most other drifting debris was being washed out."

A dead fin whale was also discovered at a beach in Brixham, Devon, on Saturday.

Recovering population

Both fin whales, which are the second largest mammal on the planet, weigh about 35 to 45 tonnes and are 50ft (15m) long.

Both appear to have been brought ashore by the recent stormy weather, although it is thought likely the whales were dead before they beached.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust says the carcass was quite fresh and estimates the whale died a few days ago.

Dr Tregenza said: "Fin whales can grow to 90ft (27.5m).

"Since 1996, they have been seen during most winters around the Land's End peninsula, Mount's Bay or Falmouth Bay.

"It does look as though the fin whale population may be recovering well since the end of the commercial whaling, which devastated their population. As a result, they are re-occupying habitat they previously used."

It was lying upside down on its back, its eyes were shut and it looked very beautiful in its own way
Kate Hockley, Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Kate Hockley, a volunteer for the Trust, was called out to record the Sennen Cove whale, one of only 10 to have been recorded since records began.

Ms Hockley said: "I was awe-struck by the whole experience.

"It was lying upside down on its back, its eyes were shut and it looked very beautiful in its own way."

The Trust is advising members of the public to report any stranded mammals, but not to approach or touch them.

It says cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) can carry diseased which may be transmitted to humans and their pets.




SEE ALSO:
Training to reduce whale deaths
10 Oct 04  |  Cornwall


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