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Minke whale is latest to die on beaches of east coast of England

One of the many whales to have washed up on the east coast of England - Photo: PA
One of the many whales to have washed up on the east coast of England - Photo: PA

The latest sea animal corpse to wash up on the Norfolk coast has been identified as a minke whale - dashing hopes it could explain a recent spate of whale strandings.

Norfolk cetacean recorder Carl Chapman received reports of the find at Weybourne on Tuesday night.

It was initially thought to be a giant squid which could help explain why a pod of sperm whales had become trapped in the North Sea while chasing food.

But Mr Chapman has now confirmed the carcass is that of a minke first washed up at nearby Salthouse almost a month ago which has now been washed along the coast.

He added: “When we heard it might be a giant squid, we thought this could be significant.

“There is a species of 20ft giant squid which could have matched this description and would have gone a long way to explaining the current situation with the sperm whales.

“The theory that the whales were chasing squid remains valid but there’s no evidence of it at this stage.

“I think at the moment people are very aware of the whale sightings and we are receiving a lot of reports which come to nothing.”

The false alarm came after a seventh whale was seen in trouble off the coast at Mundesley earlier that morning.

The coastguard launched a search but could find no further trace of the creature.

It is hoped the whale safely returned to deeper waters.

The latest reported sighting came after a bull died at Hunstanton in the county last week and four others were found dead in Lincolnshire.

There have been 30 sperm whale deaths in the North Sea this year.

The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, which examines all whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings in the UK, is working to establish why the whales came ashore and how they died.

This could help establish what the whales, thought to have come from the same bachelor pod normally living off the west coast of Norway, were doing in the North Sea.

One theory is that the male whales could have taken a wrong turn while heading south to find females or been lured by food.


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