Sei whale strands on Northumberland beach
Sei whale was too poor condition to be refloated
Sei whale stranded at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. Photo courtesy of BDMLR
September 2012. On the 26th September the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) received a call about a whale that had beached at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. Local BDMLR volunteers were called to assess the whale's condition and to give it first aid until a veterinary surgeon arrived to assess the whale's condition.
Sadly the 8 metre whale, originally thought to be a Minke whale but now identified as a Sei whale, was deemed to be in too poor a condition to be refloated. It was extremely thin and malnourished and would not have survived in the open sea, so the vets made the decision to humanely euthanise the whale.
A team from the Cetaceans Strandings Investigation Programme will conduct a post mortem over the next day or so to try and determine the cause of the whale's stranding.
BDMLR would like to thank all who took part in this incident, especially the vets who responded, the Fire and Rescue, Coastguard, country park wardens and the BDMLR volunteer medics who remained with the animal for most of the day.
Sei whale necropsy - Update - Young whale was starving
The 8.6m juvenile female Sei whale was in moderate-poor nutritional condition, with comparatively thin blubber deposits and atrophy of the dorsal musculature. No evidence of recent feeding was found and bile staining of the intestinal tract indicated a period of inanition (starvation). No other significant findings were made during the post-mortem. Bacteriological, histological and blood haematology/biochemistry analyses are pending and may shed further light on this stranding. The moderate to poor nutritional condition and evidence of lack of recent feeding, together with the whales potential status as being maternally dependent entirely justify the decision taken to euthanase the animal on welfare grounds. The remains of the whale will be disposed of by the local authority.
Second Sei stranding this year
This is the second stranding of a Sei whale in the UK this year, another Sei whale stranded in Scotland earlier this month. Sei whales are an unusual species to find stranded in the UK- the whale which stranded yesterday is the sixth in the UK since the inception of the CSIP in 1990 and only the 16th since the Natural History Museum began collecting data on UK strandings in 1913.
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Sei whale stranded in Yorkshire
In September 2011, a Sei whale stranded near the mouth of the Humber. In the last 100 years there have been only 16 Sei whales stranding records on the UK coastline, so Wildlife Extra wonders if this third stranding may signal that Sei whales are returning to the UK's waters in larger numbers, or that they are now migrating through the North Sea.
The Sei whale was too thin to survive, Photo credit BDMLR