Facebook page advertising dead whale's teeth from Old Hunstanton is condemned
PUBLISHED: 14:40 30 December 2011
Archant © 2011
Police investigate West Norfolk man's claims to be selling the sperm whale's jaw bone and teeth - illegally.
A Facebook page advertising the teeth and jaw bone from a dead sperm whale for sale has been condemned - and the author warned he faces prosecution.
The lower jaw of the whale, which washed-up at Old Hunstanton on Christmas Eve, was removed within hours and now a social media page is advertising a full set of teeth, 15 loose and 11 still in the jaw at £5 each or £45 for the jaw.
The page was created by a West Norfolk man yesterday. He is now being investigated by police as selling any part of a dead sperm whale is illegal and anyone trying to trade is liable to prosecution.
The huge body of the whale has become a ghoulish tourist attraction and thousands of people have travelled to the Norfolk coast resort to have a look.
But sperm whales are protected under the International Whaling Commission and trading in their teeth, which are ivory, is also banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Any whales found should not be taken or disposed of without the authority of the local council and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
“Approaching or handling the animal may also pose health risks and should not take place without the proper authority and protective measures.
“Globally the UK champions the protection of whales. We fully support the continuing ban on harvesting, in place under the International Whaling Commission, and on trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.”
The page’s author has been condemned by several people - with comments ranging from “disgusting” to “sick” placed under the advert.
Sperm whales are a threatened species and under CITES regulations removing teeth or trading in them is against the law.
The whale is believed to have died some time ago and is decomposing on the beach from where it will probably have to be removed in the next few days.
A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it may have been the same whale which had been seen dead on the RAF’s bombing range on the other side of the estuary, at Holbeach, some weeks ago.
Scientists from the Zoological Society have already taken samples from the animal.