Beached whale at Aust may have had infection

The whale
Image caption The whale was put down amid fears it would starve to death without its mother

A whale that was put down by a vet after becoming stranded on the coast of South Gloucestershire may have had an underlying infection.

A post-mortem examination has confirmed it was a young female sowerby's beaked whale but more tests are being done.

The creature was stranded at Aust on 16 August.

Rob Deaville, from the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, said it was also investigating if it was linked to other recent strandings.

Mr Deaville said tests on the whale were "a work in progress".

"There was nothing significant at post-mortem, but there is evidence to suggest it possibly had an underlying infection. We are waiting for follow-up tests to help rule out or confirm it," he said.

Mr Deaville added that there had been between four and six other strandings around the UK - in Scotland and on the east coast on England - at about the same time.

"Some could be strandings that have washed out and and then stranded again elsewhere," he said.

"It's automatic to want to look for a common factor, but to a degree it's speculation."

Rescue teams worked through the night to try and save the whale at Aust.

It was put down because the mother was nowhere to be seen and it was believe the young whale would starve without her.

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