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Giant whale dies after washing up on West Country beach

Passers-by kept a respectful distance from the magnificent animal Credit: Portreath Studio

A giant whale has died after washing up on a Cornish beach. The young female sperm whale became stuck on Perranporth after the tide went out.

The species is very rarely seen in Cornish waters.

The stranded whale was spotted by Falmouth Coastguard on Sunday lunchtime, 10 July. It called in British Divers Marine Life Rescue for its expertise.

The team of marine specialists could only make her comfortable. It is understood that being out of the sea for so long would have given her internal injuries. She would have had to bear her own body weight whereas normally she would be carried in the water.

Even if the 40 feet long creature could have been taken back out to sea - it is unlikely that she would have survived.

Sperm whales are a rare sight in Cornish waters Credit: Portreath Studio
The sperm whale washed up on Perranporth beach and was stranded when the tide went out Credit: Portreath Studio
The team tried to make the whale comfortable by pouring water on her Credit: Portreath Studio
Observers say they had seen the whale's tail moving but not for long Credit: Portreath Studio
Marine experts say they was no way they could have saved the beached whale Credit: Portreath Studio

An investigation will take place to establish how the young whale died and then the operation to remove her body will begin.

It is important to deal with the body before it begins to decompose - which can be unpleasant and there have also been occasions when the gases cause beached whales to explode.