Cornwall

Basking shark washed up in Cornwall offers 'rare opportunity'

Basking shark Image copyright Matthew Facey Photography
Image caption The basking shark washed up at Chapel Point in Cornwall

The carcass of a large basking shark has washed up near a beach in Cornwall.

The creature, estimated as 25ft (7.62m) long, came ashore at Chapel Point near Mevagissey over the weekend.

Basking sharks are often seen off the Cornish coast during the warmer months.

Niki Clear, from the Marine Strandings Network (MSN), said: "Basking shark carcasses normally sink, so this is a very rare opportunity for us. It's really unusual, we get maybe one a year."

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A team of volunteers, working for the MSN, is at the site gathering samples, as well as confirming the species, size and gender.

Photographer Matthew Facey, said: "I'd heard from a customer that they'd seen a 'whale' dead near Chapel Point, so thought I'd have a walk out for a look.

"I'm told by my fishing friends this is a female basking shark, she's obviously been dead a while, no signs on the outside of her, but she is now food for crabs and seagulls, so it's not all bad."

The MSN is run by Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) and monitors the coast of south-west England.

Following an examination, Abby Crosby from CWT, said they were unlikely to be able to establish when or how the animal died due to decomposition.

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