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Dead humpback whale washes up on Northumberland coast

The humpback whale lies on the rocks in Northumberland. Credit: Howick Coastguard Rescue Team

A dead humpback whale has washed up on the rocks near Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

Howick Coastguard Rescue Team were called to the scene by beachgoers just before 2pm on Sunday, and identified the creature as a dead juvenile humpback whale.

Humpback whales carry up to 7,500 lice, which are now looking for a new host and could attach themselves to people, the coastguard warned.

Due to the risks associated with the beaching, bystanders were cleared from the scene and a cordon was set up.

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The cordon was maintained in the hope the tide would take the whale back out to sea, however this did not happen.

Arrangements are now in place to remove the whale as soon as possible.

Howick Coastguard Rescue Team said: “We would like to take this opportunity to urge people NOT to come to the location to view the whale. The whale is partially decomposed and poses a very significant risk to health to anybody who approaches it.

“Chemicals such as putrescine and cadaverine leak out of these mammals with a particularly noxious smell and, as they are oil based they stick to your body. Harmful bacteria will be present which can cause serious illness.

“The whale is also on slippery, uneven rocks and this also poses a significant fall risk for anyone walking across them and then putting rescuers at risk.”