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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sad end for giant of the seas: 45ft whale dies after being washed up on Kent beach

By Daily Mail Reporter

Beached: A Maritime & Coastguard Agency photo shows the scale of the 45ft-long sperm whale washed up at Pegwell Bay in Kent

-Natural History Museum to be consulted on its removal

A 45ft-long sperm whale has died today after being washed up on the Kent coast.

The huge animal was found stranded on the beach at Pegwell Bay between Ramsgate and Sandwich, in Kent, at 7.30am and animal rescue experts were called before it was confirmed the whale had died.

The public have shown great interest in the corpse but are advised to stay away from the beached whale due to health risks related to bacteria and its odour, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastal Agency said.

He said coastguards remained at the scene and it was attracting great interest from members of the public.

'Our advice is to stay away as much as possible. It could be dangerous due to bacteria and it will probably get quite smelly,' he said.

'As the tide was on the flood, the advice was to leave it to see what happened when the water flooded around it.

'It now appears to be completely expired.'

Stranded: A Kent Coastguard and a police officer look at the body of a sperm whale washed up on the beach at Pegwell Bay in Kent this morning

Grim discovery: The huge whale was found dead early this morning on the Kent coast

The removal of the animal will be organised by Thanet District Council, it has been confirmed.

A council spokeswoman said it was seeking advice from the Institute of Zoology to determine how best to move it but they were currently being hampered by the high tide.

A Kent Police spokeswoman said an officer was on the scene and authorities were also liaising with experts at London's Natural History Museum, who may be called in to take samples of the sperm whale's jawbone.

Like dolphins, sperm whales can carry tuberculosis and lung disease and so the public would be well advised to stay away from the corpse.

Incidences of whales of this size washing up on the Kent coast are a rare but typically annual event.

Failed attempt: Animal experts waited for low tide to try and rescue the whale which sadly died

Washed up: The sperm whale was discovered dead on the beach at Pegwell Bay near Ramsgate



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