Promenade partly closed for dead whale removal

The sperm whale that washed up onto the rocks in north Norfolk. 

Part of Sheringham Promenade has been closed so workers can remove the carcass of a sperm whale. Picture: Any Christie - Credit: Amy Christie

Part of Sheringham's promenade has been closed off so that the removal of a sperm whale carcass can be planned and carried out. 

A North Norfolk District Council spokesman said it wanted to discourage people from going to see the remains of the 10-tonne animal, which was found washed onto the rocks on Monday morning

The spokesman said: “The council asks that local residents in the area avoid that section of Sheringham promenade while our environmental services team are on site tending to the removal of the whale.

"It is important the area remains undisturbed while we plan the extraction.

"The section of promenade is closed off and will remain closed off until the successful removal.”

The night after the beaching someone cut off the whale's jawbone - probably using a chainsaw - which is illegal.

It followed a similar theft after another sperm whale carcass got washed ashore at Weybourne in early December.

The council said it was aiming to have the whale removed by the end of next week, but the job was complicated by the fact the carcass was on the rocks, and contractors had to work within the constraints of the weather and the tides. 

The carcass may be disposed of the same way as the Weybourne whale, which was cut up for removal before being buried in a deep landfill pit in west Norfolk.

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Both of those whales, another found in the Wash in November, and 10 more which came ashore in east Yorkshire just before Christmas, are thought to have been part of the same pod of young males. 

Norfolk whale expert Carl Chapman said they were probably all trying to make their way south together to breeding grounds in the mid-Atlantic or near the Azores, when they got lost.

Mr Chapman said: "Effectively, they've come down the wrong side of the UK and got into shallow water.

"When they get to be 17-to-19 years old they'll move further south to breed with the females."

Mr Chapman said the beachings had nothing to do with offshore wind farms or ingesting plastic, but was something that had happened in this part of the world for thousands of years. 

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