A beaked whale died on a beach in France on Monday, hours after being found stranded and alive but wounded, authorities said. Experts had hoped the rising tide would help the animal back to sea, but the whale didn’t make it.
The northern beaked whale was discovered still alive by people taking a walk on the beaches of Sangatte, near Calais. The presence of this type of beaked whale this far south is rare. “These animals usually swim deep in Arctic waters,” Thierry Jauniaux, a sea mammal expert at Liege University in Belgium, said.
Jauniaux said several whales from the same species have washed up recently on the coast of Belgium and the Netherlands. He added that this phenomenon could be due to “pollution, the appearance of new illnesses or increased sea traffic.”
The female whale, who was 7.6-metre (25-foot) and weighed 3.5 tonnes, probably ended up on the beach “because she was disorientated”, Jacky Karpouzopoulos, head of the CMNF animal protection group, told news agency AFP. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my 40 years on the job,” he said.
Experts had decided against lifting the animal back into the water, hoping that the tide would enable the animal to refloat and swim away, he added.
In May, a lost orca was seen in the river Seine. Despite efforts to save him, the orca died. This summer, an injured beluga whale that strayed into the Seine was put down by veterinarians after a rescue attempt failed because of his rapidly deteriorating healt