Intelligent Mind

Stuff that matters

A pod of 10 sperm whales who washed up on a UK beach have all sadly died.

Rescuers have revealed that four of the whales which were alive when the news first broke this morning have since died.

They previously warned the surviving four out of the 10 could not be saved and would sadly be left to die.

The pod was spotted on the beach between Tunstall and Withernsea, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, early on Christmas Eve.

A Marine Life rescue team, the coastguard and police were all called to scene in Humberside, but there was little that could be done.

Speaking on Thursday evening, a British Divers Marine Life Rescue spokesperson said: “Sadly we can confirm that the last of the 10 whales that were found stranded near Tunstall this morning passed away earlier this afternoon.”

She said reports of more whales a few miles further south at Spurn Point had been checked but nothing had been found.

The spokeswoman added: “We can only hope that there are no more whales still in the area that might yet come ashore.”

The BDMLR said the North Sea was a difficult environment for sperm whales as the shallow water had few of the deep water squids they usually fed on, and they rarely survived beach strandings due to their size.

The spokeswoman said: “Many of the animals involved today were in poor nutritional condition as a result and clearly would not have survived long if they had refloated alive on the tide.

“Due to the large size and weight of these animals, there are no safe methods for lifting and moving live animals of almost 20 metre length and up to 80 tonnes in weight, nor are there any safe and effective methods available for putting them to sleep either.”

She said photographs of the animals, believed to be a pod of juvenile males, would be shared with the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme – UK Strandings and it was now the responsibility of the council and beach owners to plan what happened to the bodies.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all of our team involved on the ground and behind the scenes in this awful situation today, of all days for it to happen on, as well as our colleagues in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who have been on scene all day dealing with these tragic and difficult circumstances”, the spokeswoman added.

Julia Cable of BDMLR said earlier a team was at the scene and it is clear the sperm whales had not eaten for some time.

She told The Mirror: “We think there are now nine animals.

“We can’t get to them for safety reasons at the moment.”

She added: “If we can get to them, it wouldn’t be a rescue, we can’t do anything and we can’t put them to sleep due to their size.

“They haven’t eaten for a long time, they are in the wrong place.

“We are just going to observe them.”

Emily Mayman, an experienced medic with British Divers Marine Life Rescue, was called to the scene after passers-by spotted the gigantic sperm whales stranded on the coast.

The 30-year-old said: “We suspect it’s about 10 whales. But we’re waiting on more information at the moment.

“We believe a couple of members of the public have spotted the stranded whales this morning.

“We’re not sure what caused this – but sometimes you get this happening to sperm whales dotted around the coastline.

“It’s a massive shame.

“There’s not much we can do with them. They are such big animals. Their skulls alone are so heavy so rescue operations are very difficult.

“They are a deep diving species, it’s not in their best interest to try and put them back out again.

“It’s very sad to see because they may be sick.”