Scientists investigate rare pygmy sperm whale found washed up on Carmarthenshire beach

Scientists are investigating after a rare pygmy sperm whale was found washed up on a Welsh beach.

The adult male was found on Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence and where the general public have only limited access.

The 2.5m mammal, which is only the 14th pygmy whale to be found on UK shores, is now being analysed by the UK Cetacean Strandings investigation Programme in London.

The last one was found stranded more than three years ago.

It is also one of only two species of whale to release ink - in this case, a thick, red substance, to protect itself from predators.

The Defra-funded CSI programme, is tasked with dissecting the whale to determine whether it was caused by humans' impact on the marine environment.

The organisation was live-tweeting the post-mortem examination on Thursday.

Marine biologist Rob Deaville, head of the CSI, said, "We're looking at different possibilities, chemical contaminants in the environment, physical pollution such as plastics, noise pollution from shipping and certain offshore industries, bycatch from fishing, or a different cause of death altogether."

The carcass was found with no eyes - thought to be the work of hungry birds Credit: CSIP_ZSL

Analysis of the carcass showed that several chunks had been taken out of its tail, but the CSI team think it was more likely to have been caused by a run-in with a shark, while its missing eye was probably the work of scavenger birds.

Anyone who comes across a dead whale, dolphin or porpoise is urged to contact the CSI programme by visiting

Any live strandings should be reported immediately to the RSPCA.