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Update: Cause of whale’s death in Suffolk may never be known

08:22 03 October 2012

A minke whale became beached on a sand bar and died at Shingle Street on Sunday.

A minke whale became beached on a sand bar and died at Shingle Street on Sunday.

Archant

THE death of a whale that was stranded on a Suffolk beach may well remain a mystery, experts said last night.

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Officials from the Zoological Society of London’s UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme were at Shingle Street, near Woodbridge, yesterday.

They were hoping to perform an autopsy on the 20ft juvenile fin whale, which was spotted on Sunday.

But because the coastline is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, project manager Rob Deaville said it had to be abandoned.

“Trying to sort out the logistics of where we could perform such an examination meant it was just not possible,” he said.

“We have still managed to take some basic samples but the cause of death – and why the whale was in the area – will more than likely remain a mystery.”

Responsibility for disposing of the body has now been handed to the district council and they are expected to remove it from the beach today.

Simone Bullion, of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, has written on the subject of minke whales and their appearance on the East Anglian coast.

According to records, the last sighting was in 2007 off Kessingland. Before that, a minke was temporarily stranded in the River Stour in 1986. The last instance of a minke carcass being found was in 1982 at Easton Broad.

To report a stranding visit http://ukstrandings.org or www.bdmlr.org.uk

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