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Whale dies after becoming beached at West Lynn

A whale which was first spotted swimming in the River Great Ouse in Lynn on Thursday has died after becoming beached.

On Friday, officials started to develop a plan to remove the juvenile fin whale from its position near a culvert at West Lynn.

Insp Mark Askham said: “We are working with partners to come up with a rescue plan.”

Whale stranded at River Great Ouse.(2799211)
Whale stranded at River Great Ouse.(2799211)

A cordon was put up around the area above the whale, as crowds began to gather at the scene on Friday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said the whale was recovered onto land that the agency owns just south of Lynn with help from the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board on Friday.

She said the whale, which measured about 35ft in length and weighed about eight tonnes, was secured and covered on Friday afternoon and “was not tampered with overnight”.

“We liaised with the Institute of Zoology, who did an investigation of the carcass and took samples to try to establish the cause of death and the reason why it stranded itself,” she added.

“Once they had finished on Saturday evening, Environment Agency staff dug a hole about 35ft deep and buried the whale.”

After the whale was first spotted, at around 8am on Thursday, scientists at Sea Watch Foundation said it “looked disoriented” and showed fresh scars on the dorsum, flank and head, which may have been caused by swimming in the river.

At this point, officials said they hoped the fin whale would be able to swim back to the open sea, but added that time was ticking.

There have been a total of nine historical sightings of fin whales in Norfolk, between 1842 and 2015.

The most recent sighting in the UK was that of an adult fin whale and a juvenile fin whale which was reported in the Kessock Channel – an area of water forming part of the inner Beauly Firth in northern Scotland – two weeks ago.

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