Enormous dead whale washed up on Devon coast is good news says expert

Enormous dead whale washed up on Devon coast is good news says expert
A huge fin whale found washed up on the coast of Devon is good news because it shows whale populations are recovering after hunting was banned two decades ago, an expert says.

The fin whale, which washed up on Wednesday, is decomposing on the beach at Hartland Quay. It is thought to have died at sea and later washed ashore. The cause of death is unknown.

If the 10 meter (32ft) whale it is not swept away by the tide, its body will either be incinerated or put into a landfill. Richard Haste from Torridge Council told the BBC it would require a “major operation” to remove the carcass.

Ten years ago there were no strandings in Europe at all, according to the Telegraph. Sightings and beachings have increased dramatically since.

Some scientists believe the destruction of food sources could be a factor, meaning whales have to travel further in search of food.

Another theory suggests increased sightings and beachings are actually a sign the whale population is recovering after whaling was banned in the region in 1986.

Whale expert Rob Deaville, of the Institute of Zoology at London Zoo, told the Telegraph: “We had no humpback whales stranded in the UK for 80 years while whaling was going on.

“There’s good evidence that they are starting to recover.”

READ MORE: 5th beached sperm whale discovered in eastern England

The recovery was mostly confined to humpback and fin whales, while other species such as killer whales are more affected by pollution in the seas, Deaville says.

At the start of last year, 29 sperm whales washed up on North Sea coasts in the space of less than a month, many with plastic found inside their stomachs.