1. ITV Report

Post mortem reveals fin whale washed up on Norfolk beach died of starvation

A fin whale that washed up on a Norfolk beach died of starvation. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A post mortem examination on a Fin whale that was found washed up on a beach in Norfolk revealed she died from starvation.

A cordon was initially put around the whale to allow scientists to carry out tests Credit: ITV News Anglia

The 40ft whale was found dead on the shore between Burnham Overy and Holkham by wardens on Thursday.

An initial cordon around the whale was set up to allow scientists to carry out tests.

The whale drifted to nearby Gun Hill with the tides. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme say the whale developed a spinal abnormality which limited its amount of movement.

The evidence from the post mortem indicates that the fin whale had developed a spinal abnormality (possibly a kyphosis or kyphoscoliosis), which had potentially limited the degree of movement and lead to the progressive wasting of the musculature and eventual live stranding and death.

The results of other analyses are pending completion and may alter the final cause of death, but it has provisionally been given as ‘starvation, consequential to spinal abnormality.'

– Rob Deaville, The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme
Samples were taken from the whale to find out how she died Credit: ITV News Anglia

They say the whale had probably been dead for a few days, before it was found.

The Holkham estate and Natural England are now making arrangements to dispose of the carcass, which the public have been warned not to approach too closely.

More on this story