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Monster from the deep… on the Norfolk coast: 40ft sperm whale washes up on Christmas Eve
It is believed the mammal was dead before it was washed up on the beach
By Charles Walford
Last updated at 2:03 PM on 28th December 2011
A 40ft sperm whale has been washed up dead on an East Anglian beach, with what appears to be a large gash in its stomach.
The sand around its tail did not appear disturbed, suggesting the creature was dead before the tide carried it onto the sands at Old Hunstanton, Norfolk.
Large crowds gathered to see the whale, which is near the high tide mark.
A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it may have been the same whale which had been seen dead on the RAF’s bombing range on the other side of the estuary, at Holbeach, some weeks ago.
Scientists from the Zooological Society have already taken samples from the animal, which will be left to be carried away by the tide to decompose naturally.
The 40-foot-long sperm whale was washed up on the beach at Old Hunstanton, in Norfolk
A member of the public cuts off a tooth from the beached whale, which washed up on the Norfolk coast on Christmas Eve
A number of whales have been washed up on the North Sea coast in the past year.
They have been especially prevalent around the Humber Estuary.
Conservationists believe the increase in the number of strandings could be explained by a change in sea currents bringing colder streams of Arctic water into the North Sea and with them whales that would not normally pass so close to the UK shoreline.
At the end of September a 33ft mammal, thought to be a Sei whale, was discovered in marshes on the north bank of the River Humber near the village of Skeffling.
Earlier the same month, a young Fin whale – a relative of the Sei – was stranded at Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, and subsequently washed up dead near Spurn Point.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has noted a rise in whale sightings generally in 2011 but no-one is sure why there may be an increase in the mammals in the North Sea.
Over the summer, a pod of up to 10 Minke whales were spotted regularly off the North Yorkshire coast between Whitby and Scarborough.
Whale experts admit they do not know why there has been an upsurge in sightings and strandings.
A man poses in a fisherman’s outfit to pretend he had caught the 40ft beast that was washed up on the North Sea coast
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