2010 03 13- Baby sperm whale found on the rocks at Wreck Hill, Somerset Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

A phone call this morning from Tab Froud to tell me he had heard there was a whale on the rocks on Wreck Hill, Somerset. Camilla Stringer and I drove out there and walked along the coastline but couldn't find the whale. At Robinsons Marina we asked local fishermen and Bobby Lamb on Last Chance said he'd seen the whale that morning. He kindly took us on his boat where we found the young sperm whale on its side against the rocks. There were several shark bites on the animal, probably from tiger sharks after it had died. After telephone discussions with Dr Ian Walker at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo I got in the water and fastened a rope to the tail of the whale and we towed the dead whale to the public dock in Ely's Harbour. Soon after staff of BAMZ arrived including Dr Walker, Dr Robbie Smith, Barbara Outerbridge and Patrick Talbot. Although a necropsy was intended in an attempt to determine the cause of death, the slippery ramp and impending bad weather forced a delay. Measuring the whale determined that its length was 6.5 meters, almost 20 feet. Running my hand along the lower jaw, there were no teeth protruding from the jaw. We spent some time making detailed measurements. The whale was left at the dock until the weather clears and the carcass can be towed out to sea. It was immensely sad seeing a young sperm whale like this dead, from no apparent causes. Had the whale survived it would have had a life span of some sixty years or more.


The dead baby sperm whale on the shore at Wreck Hill, Somerset.

In the photo on the left you can see the numerous shark bites out of the genital area.


The jaw clearly visible, as are the tiger shark bites at the base of the bottom and top jaws.


Discussing with Captain Bobby Lamb, Captain Hind and First Mate Drake how to attach a line to the whale.

The sperm whale lies alongside the public dock at Ely's Harbour awaiting staff from the Aquarium.


Measuring the whale's dimensions. There were no other volunteers to get in the water...

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