A massive endangered whale has sadly died after being washed up on a British beach and crushing its internal organs on the rock.
Witnesses were “devastated” as they watched the fin whale slowly die after being discovered in trouble by a beach clean group who sparked a desperate rescue operation.
It was initially hoped that with the tide coming in a group of volunteers could help turn it around – but rescuers have confirmed the whale, part of an endangered species which is the second largest in the world, has now lost its battle for survival.
Steve Green, of Clean Ocean Sailing, told Cornwall Live they had encountered the whale earlier today before seeing it in trouble at the privately-owned Nare Point on the Lizard in Cornwall this afternoon.
He said: “I think it was a fin whale. It is so sad as she was swimming with us just this morning and it was wonderful to see her alongside us.
“About where we anchored we were doing a beach clean up and we were horrified to see her stranded on the rocks.
“It was heartbreaking to watch her die. We were hoping to get a load of people on the tide to help her turn around – but that hasn’t been possible.
“It is devastating.”
Steve said he was told by the rescuers that the whale had been crashing around for several hours to try and get off the rocks but due to its size is believed to have crushed its internal organs.
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) group have been called and the public have been asked to stay away from the area.
The animal, thought to be 60ft long, was pronounced dead at about 3.45pm this afternoon after it beached on the rocks.
Julia Cable, national coordinator at BDMLR, said the creature is a fin whale, which are also known as finback whale or common rorqual and formerly known as herring whale or razorback whale.
Fin whales are the second largest whale on the planet. They usually live in the Gulf of California, the Coral Triangle or the Arctic.
It is rare to find fin whales in British waters and it appears that the creature may have been sick, although tests will need to be carried out to determine the cause of death.
Julia said: “We don’t get them in our waters. I can’t remember the last time one was recorded down here.
“It is really really thin so it’s likely it hasn’t eaten for some time.”
The conservation organisation WWF says fin whales are endangered: “Next to the blue whale, the fin whale is the second largest mammal in the world. They have a distinct ridge along their back behind the dorsal fin, which gives it the nickname ‘razorback.’
“Fin whales have a very unusual feature: the lower right jaw is bright white and the lower left jaw is black.”