Beached sperm whale transported in truck to landfill site

The whale is carried away in a truck to be examined at a landfill site. Credit: Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme

A huge sperm whale washed up on a beach in Edinburgh has been transported to a landfill site to be examined further.

The 13.8m creature was discovered dead on Portobello beach on Saturday. Marine experts told the BBC it may have been fatally wounded by a boat further out to sea.

The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme explained why the carcass was taken to a landfill site rather than pushed back out to sea:

There are only a few options for an animal this size. One is to leave it where it is and let nature take ist course. Not an option here as its too close to a major city but, an option in remote areas. Burying on site is another but, again not possible in this case as we were not able to get plant machinery down to do this and would likely be uncovered by tidal action. The only other option was to remove it to landfill. Not the nicest place to perform a necropsy but it does allow us to get an accurate weight on an animal that would be too big to weigh anywhere else.

The mammal had suffered deep cuts around its mouth and dorsal fin.

Marine workers examine the washed up sperm whale on Saturday. Credit: PA
Edinburh residents were keen to see the unusual sight of a beached sperm whale. Credit: PA
Others were less fussed by the animal's unfortunate end. Credit: PA
A rowing boat passes the dead whale shortly before it washed up on Portobello beach. Credit: PA