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Coastguard volunteers re-float fin whale stranded on the Lizard after plastic ruled out as cause of death

A post-mortem was carried out amid fears of pollution being responsible. Credit: Cornwall Live

Coastguard volunteers have removed a dead 60ft whale from a beach owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

The female fin whale washed up on the coast at Nare Head on the Lizard peninsula on Friday [February 14].

The mammal was alive when it became stranded but died soon after, despite rescue efforts by those on the beach.

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It had been swimming alongside the Clean Ocean Sailing Club, but came into difficulty when it was grounded in shallow water.

Volunteers doused it with water in the hope that it may be re-floated during high tide but the creature, which was severely malnourished, was ultimately crushed to death by its own body weight.

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It is the responsibility of the land owner to remove stranded whales from beaches, however after an initial statement the Duchy of Cornwall refused to address or answer questions about the creature's removal.

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A post-mortem examination was carried out after fears the whale had died as a cause of pollution.

However an investigator with the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme has revealed that there was no trace of plastic or debris in the whale's stomach.

The whale's stomach was empty, indicating it was suffering from malnutrition.

Plastic pollution has been ruled out as a cause of death Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing

She was [alive] when we actually first got here.

The animal was opening its mouth wide and was actually beating its tail against the rocks.

It sounded like thunder. It was an awful noise.

Obviously you can see there's a lot of damage on the animal so it's obviously been here some time and it has been scraped on the rocks for some time. Things weren't great for it from the get go.

It stranded on the high tide and that's now gone away so it's been stranded for quite some time and in this situation an animal like this has never evolved to support its own weight so it's been crushing itself ever since and causing a lot of internal damage too.

– Dan Jarvis, British Divers Marine Life Rescue