Fifth whale washed ashore on English coast | News | DW | 25.01.2016
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Fifth whale washed ashore on English coast

Investigations are under way after a fifth dead sperm whale was washed up on the east coast of England. There was bemusement and anger after anti-nuclear graffiti was daubed on one whale carcass.


Graffiti appeared on the whales that were found earlier at Skegness, provoking consternation from many

The latest case of a whale being washed ashore on Monday came after the deaths of four others, possibly from the same pod.

The whale was washed ashore at Friskney in the county of Lincolnshire, close to the resort of Skegness where three carcasses were found at the weekend. Another whale died after being washed ashore in nearby Norfolk on Friday.

A group of as many as six whales had previously been spotted close to the shore.

Scientists from Britain's Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme were called in to carry out post-mortem examinations.

Experts are investigating whether the carcasses are linked to 12 sperm whales that have been washed up since January 11 on the German islands of Wangerooge and Helgoland and the Dutch island of Texel.

Doctor Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales may have swum south looking for food, but became disorientated.

One theory put forward by environmentalists about a spate of whale groundings is a link with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which led to radioactive isotopes being released into the sea.

On Monday, graffiti appeared on one of the whales at Skegness, apparently as a protest against the nuclear power industry. An ineptly drawn symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) appeared on one tail, as well as a grammatically flawed message that humans were to blame.

The words "Fukushima - man killed me" were written on the side of another whale. The graffiti - and the number of people taking selfies with the beached creatures - led to bemusement in some quarters and, in others, indignation.

CND UK condemned the graffiti on Monday evening, saying it was nothing to do with them.

One Twitter user, however, did defend the graffiti.

People approaching dead whales are being warned that they might "explode," as gas builds up inside them.

Sperm whales are the largest of the tooth whale group, and the largest toothed predator - feeding on squid, octopus and rays. They have the largest brain of any animal, five times heavier than that of a human.

Sperm whales measure up to 20 metres (67 feet) long, with males weighing more than 40 metric tons.

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