Whale washes ashore on British beach

February 4, 2016
A sperm whale is stranded in shallow water after the tide came in at Hunstanton Beach in Norfolk, eastern England, on February 4
A sperm whale is stranded in shallow water after the tide came in at Hunstanton Beach in Norfolk, eastern England, on February 4, 2016

A sperm whale washed up in shallow water off a beach in Britain on Thursday, the 29th such stranding in Europe in the last two weeks.

Crowds of people watched as the whale floundered in the water off Hunstanton on the east coast of England.

But rescuers said there was nothing they could do to save it due to its size and weight, and it died on Thursday evening.

"We're very sad to confirm that the whale has died but it is a bit of a relief because it had been in quite a lot of suffering," said Stephen Marsh, operations manager of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Another whale washed up on the same beach last month, and three more washed up on the nearby Lincolnshire coast.

Marsh said that the rise in strandings could be due to an increase in .

"Strandings do happen naturally, and we are just not used to seeing them as we decimated the population through whaling," Marsh said.

"Bachelor pods" of males leave the females and calves in warmer areas, and travel back on an annual basis to mate, Marsh said.

"We don't know if they were trying to migrate down to the tropics, but there's no sign yet of any man-made activity that would cause them to come in, but that is being investigated."

Sperm are the largest toothed predator and can measure up to 20 metres (67 feet) long.

They struggle to use their acoustic orientation to navigate in and may become beached.

Wildlife protection groups also blame the underwater noise from sea traffic and oil platforms for interfering with acoustic signals.

Explore further: Eight dead sperm whales found on German beach

Related Stories

Eight dead sperm whales found on German beach

February 1, 2016

Eight dead sperm whales have washed up on a German beach, just weeks after 12 of the giant mammals were found dead at other sites on the North Sea, officials said Monday.

Four dead sperm whales wash up on British beaches

January 24, 2016

Four dead sperm whales have washed up on beaches in eastern England, coastguard authorities said Sunday, a week after similar deaths across the North Sea in Germany and the Netherlands.

Two more sperm whales wash up dead on Dutch beach

January 14, 2016

Two more sperm whales became stranded and died on the Dutch coast a day after five others, likely from the same pod, lost their lives nearby in a rare North Sea beaching, experts said Thursday.

Five sperm whales stranded on Dutch beach

January 13, 2016

Five sperm whales were stranded on a Dutch beach on Tuesday, leading local authorities to urge people to stay away in order not to further distress the giant mammals.

Last whale dies in mass Australian beaching

November 17, 2011

The last of a huge pod of sperm and minke whales washed onto a southern Australian beach and nearby sandbank has died despite an extensive operation to set it free, officials said.

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.