Posted by: The ocean update | October 5, 2015

Dead whale washes up on NI beach (Ireland)

The dead whaled washed up on Portstewart strand

The dead whaled washed up on Portstewart strand

October 5th, 2015. Beach-goers at Portstewart Strand had a nasty surprise on Monday as the washed-up carcass of a 30ft whale interrupted the normally picturesque view of the sea.

The animal, which was floating in the surf, seemed to have been injured before its death and a part of its body appeared to be bloated.

Hundreds have flocked to the beach to catch a glimpse of the unusual sight.

Initial reports suggested it may be a minke whale but Suzanne Beck, a scientist with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland, has cast doubt over the species.

The minke is the smallest of the baleen whales found in UK waters, measuring 22 to 32 feet when fully grown, with females usually growing to be slightly bigger than males.

It is also the most commonly spotted type of whale around the Northern Ireland coast but Ms Beck believes the one which washed up on Monday may be a juvenile fin whale, as it does not have a distinctive white band across its body, which is indicative of a minke whale.

Ms Beck said she will be going to the site on Tuesday to collect samples and determine what happened to the mammal.

“Its injuries may have happened after death. It could have been washed up on rocks,” she said.

“I would urge people not to go near it as it could have any one of a range of diseases – we don’t know at this stage.”

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