Post-mortem to be carried out on beached whale

Minke whale stranded at Gorleston

A post-mortem is to be carried out on the young Minke male beached at Gorleston. - Credit: Dan Goldsmith/Marine and Wildlife Rescue

A post-mortem is due to be carried out on a Minke whale that was put to sleep after it beached in Gorleston.

A spokesperson for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said the examination aimed to give an insight into how and why the young male whale came to strand.

It is due to be carried out by the Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme, although she was unable to say where it would take place.

Efforts to save stranded Minke whale calf Gorleston

A beached Minke whale at Gorleston triggered a multi-agency response. - Credit: Dan Goldsmith/Marine and Wildlife Rescue

A statement from the BDMLR said it received a call from HM Coastguard alerting it to a live marine mammal washing ashore at Gorleston at around 7pm.

Members of the public were trying to push the animal back in the water, so the coastguard tasked a team to attend for public safety.

The statement went on: "Marine and Wildlife Rescue arrived on scene and were able to confirm the size and species of mammal, a young male Minke whale measuring 3.5m.

"The animal was being rolled around in the surf, which was making an assessment very difficult.

"Shortly after, our volunteer medics arrived with equipment and with help from the coastguard we were able to get a rescue mat under the animal so it could be moved away from the water for a health check, and to prevent further injury from being rolled on the incoming tide.

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"Minke whales are not weaned until around 5m so a calf under that size will almost certainly still be maternally dependent, and therefore cannot be returned to the sea without knowing that the parent animal is there, as it would not be able to feed.

"There had been no reported sighting of whales in the area during the day, and the good sea conditions at the time allowed observers to be certain there were no adult animals in the immediate area at the time of stranding.

"At 10.15pm, with the whale now secure in our rescue pontoons, a vet arrived on scene and due to the condition of the animal and the age, a decision was made on welfare grounds, to humanely euthanise the whale."

The statement moved to thank marine mammal medics, coastguard teams, Marine and Wildlife Rescue, The Veterinary Hospital in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and local emergency services for their assistance throughout.