A 55-foot (17-meter) male fin whale died on Tuesday after being stranded off Bridlington’s South Beach on the East Yorkshire coast in England. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue confirmed the death, which has raised concerns about the rare presence of fin whales in UK waters.
On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of onlookers gathered at the seafront to witness the fin whale, the world’s second-largest animal after the blue whale, as rescuers from various organizations attempted to save him. Bridlington’s mayor Mike Heslop-Mullens urged people to respect the animal’s welfare and treat him “as an animal and not as something to gawp at.”
Fin whales can grow up to 80 feet (24 meters) and weigh up to 120 tonnes. They can be found in oceans worldwide but were heavily hunted, leading to a significant decline in their population.
According to environment correspondent Paul Murphy at BBC Look North, fin whales are unusual visitors to UK shores and unsuited to shallow waters. The reasons behind the whale’s presence in the area and his subsequent stranding remain unclear.
A team from the Zoological Society of London’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme will collect samples for analysis to understand more about the biology and health of the stranded whale and potentially provide insights into the cause of the stranding.