Dis­cus­sions con­tinue on dis­posal of dead whale.

Lo­cal au­thor­ity in talks with agen­cies on how to deal with mam­mal washed up on beach

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BLAIR DINGWALL bd­ing­[email protected]­courier.co.uk

A large whale which washed up dead at an An­gus coastal spot ear­lier this week is yet to be dis­posed of.

An­gus Coun­cil was yes­ter­day in talks with the Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency (Sepa) and seal­ife ex­perts as it con­sid­ered how best to deal with the mam­mal which came ashore near Lunan Bay on Wed­nes­day.

The an­i­mal, said to be a minke whale and about 20ft in length, was dis­cov­ered by Ar­broath joiner Lee Mitchell while he was work­ing on a beach hut with his dad Brian.

Ex­perts from the Scot­tish Marine An­i­mal Strand­ing Scheme (SMASS) said the sea crea­ture was in an ad­vanced state of au­tol­y­sis – also known as self­di­ges­tion or post-mortem change.

Nick Dav­i­son, marine strand­ings co­or­di­na­tor at SMASS, said due to the level of de­com­po­si­tion, the or­gan­i­sa­tion would have been un­able to carry out an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of the whale’s death.

The In­ver­ness-based group has recorded the whale’s death but did not travel to An­gus.

Mr Dav­i­son said minke whales are very com­mon in the North Sea and fre­quently wash up on Scot­land’s shores.

He added that the cause of death could be old age or dis­ease and that the an­i­mal did not ap­pear to have fallen vic­tim to a marine en­tan­gle­ment.

“We are not at­tend­ing, it was too de­com­posed for us,” he said.

“I think it is in the hands of the coun­cil. We’d love to be able to go and ex­am­ine ev­ery an­i­mal but we don’t have the re­sources. With an­i­mals, like har­bour por­poises, we can’t go to ev­ery one.

“Minke whales are the most com­mon large mam­mal around the Scot­tish coast and the UK coast.

“Af­ter har­bour por­poises, minke whales are the most com­mon stranded species along the Scot­tish coast. Their num­bers do ap­pear to be on the in­crease. We are go­ing to get more and more.

“There was no ob­vi­ous ev­i­dence of en­tan­gle­ment and it was too de­com­posed to es­tab­lish a cause of death.

“It could be a nat­u­ral mor­tal­ity from dis­ease or old age. Like any hu­man or any an­i­mal, life ex­pires and an­i­mals do die.”

He added: “There is no sug­ges­tion look­ing at the pho­tos that it had been en­tan­gled and that is the most com­mon cause of death, (they get) stuck in creel lines.”

An An­gus Coun­cil spokesman said: “We have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing at the site and in con­tact with the rel­e­vant agen­cies with a view to ar­rang­ing the safe dis­posal of the car­cass”.

Lo­cal au­thor­ity work­ers are said to be con­sid­er­ing op­tions for how to deal with the car­cass.

There was no ob­vi­ous ev­i­dence of en­tan­gle­ment and it was too de­com­posed to es­tab­lish a cause of death

Pic­ture: Paul Reid.

Marine ex­perts say the minke whale may have died from old age or dis­ease.

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