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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Body of whale washed up on beach
Humpback whale (Generic)
Humpback whales are a rare sight in the North Sea
The body of a 20ft humpback whale has been washed up on a beach in Kent.

It was spotted on Kingsdown Beach near Deal on Thursday morning by passers by who then contacted a Sussex rescue team. It had a large gash on its side.

Trevor Weeks, from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Team, said: "It's impossible to tell if the gash happened before or after it was washed up."

He said the animal could have been dead for "a couple of days". Samples of its blood have been taken for analysis.

'Confused and starved'

Humpback whales are a protected species and Mr Weeks said it was very unusual to see one in the North Sea.

"Their normal range is the North Atlantic," he said.

"The animal could have been confused and starved - a similar situation to the bottle-nosed whale stranded in the Thames."

The whale began to drift out to sea on the high tide but came back in again a short time later.

The blood samples will be taken to the Institute of Zoology in London.


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