Wales

Sperm whale washes up on Hell's Mouth beach, Gwynedd

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Media captionExperts say it was unusual for the animal to end up in these waters

A young sperm whale has washed up on a Welsh beach.

The male calf was spotted at Hell's Mouth, near Abersoch, Gwynedd, on Tuesday evening and later died.

Experts have been trying to find out the cause of death and how it ended up in these waters away from its mother.

Teams from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme believe this is the first time a sperm whale calf has been stranded on Welsh shores.

Rob Deaville, from ZSL, said: "So far we know it's a male calf sperm whale and that in itself is quite unusual.

"Sperm whales are usually found... in very deep water. They take a big lung-full of breath, dive down for half-an-hour to an hour to 1,000 metres-plus to find their preferential prey species which is squid.

"That is why here in shallow waters in the Irish Sea, it does not belong here."

Mr Deaville said they had been removing the whale's blubber and ribs to look at its organs to see what happened to it.

He added: "As far as we can ascertain it's quite thin. We want to have a look at the organs to any abnormality.

"Is it sick, is it diseased? Has it potentially taken something on board that it shouldn't have such as plastics?"

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