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Background

Sperm whales wash up on beaches in Lincolnshire

Written by on 25th January 2016

© Creative Commons. A sperm whale with its calf

© Creative Commons. A sperm whale with its calf

 

Five sperm whales have been washed up on British shores within the last few days, three of them near Skegness.

Since mid-January a dozen sperm whales have become stranded on beaches in the Netherlands and Germany.

Scientists are now investigating whether they all belonged to one group of young male whales, who entered the shallow North Sea. Usually sperm whales live in the deeper parts of the Atlantic where they hunt squid and fish.

Dr Andrew Brownlow of the Scottish Marine Stranding Scheme spoke about the stranded animals in the Netherlands. “Doing such a post mortem is not easy. The animals weigh 25 to 30 tonnes. You need quite heavy lifting machinery to even get into the carcasses to collect some samples.”

Nevertheless the examinations play a crucial role in research on the marine mammals because they help to give us important information on the whales’ condition, diet and possible reasons why so many washed up recently.

Listen here to the full interview with Dr Andrew Brownlow, who spoke to Siren News Reporter Julia Biermann, in which he reports on his investigations and why whales wash up.