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Whale washed up on Norfolk beach may have been killed by a ship strike

PUBLISHED: 10:17 22 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:45 16 February 2017

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach at Holkham. Picture: Ian Burt

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach at Holkham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2016

Scientists have taken samples from the 40ft fin whale, which washed up between Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham on Thursday.

The fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach at Holkham. Picture: Ian BurtThe fin whale which was has been washed up on the beach at Holkham. Picture: Ian Burt

Today north Norfolk naturalist and cetacean recorder Carl Chapman said the creature may have been injured in a collision with a vessel.

“From video footage available before the animal was moved on today’s high tide a wound on the left flank was visible indicating a ship strike,” he said.

“Also the central spine looked somewhat twisted. The animal also looked under nourished with skeletal features showing in the tail stock and dorsal area. Hopefully details concerning the exact cause of death will be unearthed and released in due course. The body will be removed/buried in the next few days.”

Yesterday morning, workers from the Holkham Estate cordoned off the area around the whale and warned the public against getting too close to the whale.

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

Experts from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme have taken samples from the creature as part of their ongoing research into increasing numbers of whale deaths and strandings.

The incident comes 10 months after six sperm whales were washed up and stranded around The Wash, at locations including Hunstanton, Skegness, and Wainfleet.