Kent: Public told to keep their distance as whale washes ashore

A juvenile fin whale washed ashore in Kent.
Image caption,The whale was reported to the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme

By Shola Lee

BBC News, South East

The public have been advised to keep their distance ahead of attempts to recover a dead whale from a Kent shore.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) confirmed a juvenile female fin whale had washed ashore in Cliffe, near Rochester.

A spokesperson for PLA said people are being asked to “keep their distance” and not “interfere with the carcass” as they work to remove the whale.

They explained the carcass may carry “harmful bacteria” from decomposition.

PLA explained that recovery efforts had been “hampered by Storm Gerrit” as well as the mudflats along the rocky foreshore and limited road access to the site.

A juvenile fin whale washed ashore in Kent.
Image caption,Images posted to social media helped confirm the whale as a juvenile female fin whale

“The removal of a buoy also set back our ability to remove the whale on Friday,” the authority added.

At first, the animal was reported to be an adult minke whale, but the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme said photos showed a two tone baleen on the right side of the head – characteristic of a juvenile fin whale.

A spokesperson for PLA says their marine services team is “working to determine the safest way to remove the body.”

Red straps were placed over the whale by PLA as part of the recovery process.

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