British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Marine Mammal Medics are currently attending a small fin whale that live stranded in the Dee Estuary, North Wales, earlier this morning on the outgoing tide.
The tide is now out and the whale is fully beached on the sand. The animal is quite small, estimated at around nine metres long, and possibly still dependent upon its mother to survive. So far there have been no reported sightings of any other animals locally, which is a real concern. Fin whales are born at about six metres long and can reach around 27 metres at full size, making them the second largest animal in the world after the blue whale.
BDMLR said: “Due to the size and weight of the animal, it is not possible to move it, and if it survives long enough will refloat by itself as the tide returns. However, it is very important to realise that this is not a normal habitat or general area for fin whales to be in so even if it does refloat alive, then the prognosis will not be good and it may well restrand within the confines of the estuary again. Similarly, putting the animal to sleep is virtually impossible given its size and the options currently available in the UK too.
“With the aid of local boatmen, our team are currently assessing the situation and the whale. We will post a further update on this incident later.
“We would kindly ask that people must continue to respect Covid-19 guidelines that are still in force, including the five-mile travel limit in Wales – therefore people should not attempt to visit the area or gather in groups.”
Photo credit: Graham Barber