Fifty-nine foot fin whale washes up dead at Lynmouth

A 59ft (18m) long fin whale has washed up dead on the north Devon coast.

The fin whale, the world's second largest animal and a globally-endangered species, washed ashore at Lynmouth.

Swansea Coastguard said the alarm was raised just before 08:00 BST, by a member of the public.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue members, who examined the whale, said it had extensive cuts to its body and part of its tail is missing.

Protective cordon

The Natural History Museum has been notified and post-mortem tests may be carried out on the creature to establish how it died.

A cordon has been set up around the whale, which has begun to decompose, to protect members of the public from infection.

Fin whales are normally found in large numbers in the Bay of Biscay, but a pod of about 20 were sighted in the Celtic Deep, between north Cornwall and south west Pembrokeshire, in May.

The have powerful sounds, allowing them to communicate with each other over vast distances.

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