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Initial post mortem after death of whale in Cornwall

Initial post mortem after death of whale in Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 7:28am 17th February 2020. (Updated at 9:30am 17th February 2020)

It has emerged a huge whale that died after stranding on a Cornish beach had an empty stomach.

The 60ft-long fin whale was found on the Lizard on Friday, but the creature could not be saved.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue, called to Nare Point, believe the female washed up at high tide.

Now they have confirmed that an early post mortem has found that the whale was malnourished.

Fin Whale Stranded in Cornwall
An initial post mortem has confirmed a whale that died after stranding on a Cornish beach was malnourished. Photo: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Despite Storm Dennis, a team of experts from Cornwall's Marine Strandings Network managed to reach the whale on Saturday.

"The PM team, consisting of our brilliant @James Barnett with MSN Volunteers and the equally brilliant Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme - UK strandings team managed to get to site and the whale around 2pm this afternoon to carry out a post mortem in incredibly difficult conditions.

"It was discovered she was a Subadult female and very thin. The stomach was empty. There was considerable amounts of oedema (fluid and swelling) in the chest. The reason for her malnutrition is currently not clear. 

"The team took samples for histopathology, bacteriology, toxicology etc.

"Rob at CSIP will post a fuller summary later which we will also share.

"Thank you as always to everyone involved in these events - from the public who take the time to call strandings in, all the way through our brilliant hotline coordinators, dedicated call out volunteers, and of course James and the post mortem team. 

"And in the case of this animal, our wonderful partners British Divers Marine Life Rescue who attended the live animal in her final hours".

Cornwall Marine Strandings Network

This is the moment an early post mortem was carried out - you may find the footage upsetting...

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