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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Whale's body removed from shore
The whale became stranded in shallow water off the coast of Larne
The whale was put down after beaching off the Larne coast
The body of a whale which beached in County Antrim has been moved from the shoreline by crane.

Larne Borough Council said the remains of the fin whale will be disposed of at a rendering plant in Lisburn.

The young mammal had been stranded for three days at Larne Lough, as rescuers tried to coax it back out to sea.

It was put down after beaching on Thursday. The animal could not be buried at the site due to high levels of barbiturates in its blood.

There was concern they could get into the food chain. Tissue samples have been taken from the whale for a post mortem examination.

Contractor Stephen McKee said it was the first job on such a large scale he had had to undertake.

"I think it could be in and around 10 tonnes, something in around that and it's about 29 to 30 feet long. It's very flexible, the body of it, to get slung, to get lifted," he said.

Zone

A 300m exclusion zone had been imposed around the whale in an effort to get it to swim back out to sea.

Vets had been on standby and a decision was taken to put the mammal down with the use of lethal injection.

Originally thought to be a minke whale, the animal was in fact a fin whale, the second largest mammal on the planet.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group it was the first record of a fin whale in Northern Ireland's waters for nearly 100 years.

Scientists believe the current heatwave may be contributing to unusually large numbers of whales and dolphins off the UK coastline.




SEE ALSO
Stranded whale put down by vets
27 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
Tide dashes hopes of moving whale
26 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
Operation to save stranded whale
25 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
Killer whales spotted off NI coast
19 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland

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