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Public warned to stay away from whale washed up on Norfolk beach

PUBLISHED: 10:56 21 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:24 21 October 2016

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris Bishop

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris Bishop

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Scientists are on their way to carry out a post mortem on the creature, which was discovered yesterday between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham.

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris BishopThe fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris Bishop

This morning workers from the Holkham Estate cordoned off the area around the 40ft whale, which had come to rest on the foreshore around 200yds from the high tide mark.

Squally seas quickly returned to surround the animal, as a northerly wind pushed the incoming tide around it.

Experts from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme hope to take samples from the creature this afternoon, as part of their ongoing research into increasing numbers of whale deaths and strandings.

Unlike the whales washed up around The Wash earlier this year, which drew thousands of sightseers, the fin whale is in a remote part of the shoreline, two miles west of Holkham Gap.

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris BishopThe fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris Bishop

Visitors are being warned that the area is tidal and lifeboats have frequently been called out to people cut off by the tides.

A spokesman for the Holkham estate said the beach remained open but plans were in place to remove the creature.

She added: “On Thursday afternoon, a dead 40ft fin whale was washed up on Holkham Beach, part of Holkham National Nature Reserve, on the north Norfolk coast.

“Wardens from the reserve have reported the whale to the CSIP who hope to carry out a post-mortem to establish cause of death.

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris BishopThe fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris Bishop

“Plans are in place to remove the whale from the beach.

“Holkham Beach remains open but we advise the public not to venture close to the carcass and to keep dogs on leads.”

The CSIP is still investigating mass strandings of whales which happened earlier this year.

Six sperm whales washed up on beaches around The Wash, including Hunstanton, Skegness and Wainfleet in January.

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris BishopThe fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham. Picture: Chris Bishop

Scientists from the strandings programme took samples of skin, blubber, teeth and blood to ascertain the cause of their deaths.

Results remain inconclusive.

The creatures, which were all males, were among more than a dozen to die in the southern North Sea.

Six died after being washed ashore in Germany and the Netherlands.

The fin whale on the beach at Burnham Overy Dunes. Picture: Geoff WyattThe fin whale on the beach at Burnham Overy Dunes. Picture: Geoff Wyatt

Officials warned people to stay away from the whales, which drew hundreds of visitors to the coast.

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