Three sperm whales found washed ashore on a beach in Skegness are thought to have been from the same pod as a whale who was found on a beach in Norfolk on Friday. The three mammals were found on Gibraltar Point in the seaside resort and were thought to have been beached on the 6.30am tide.
The whales, found across the world but ordinarily in open ocean, are thought to belong to a pod that became disorientated and were later found washed up on beaches in Norfolk, Germany and Holland. On Friday, 22 January, a 50ft sperm whale, also known as cachalots, was found dead on the beach in Hunstanton, Norfolk – apparently one of six spotted by eyewitnesses.
It is thought the whale became distressed in the shallow waters and injured its tail thrashing around with visible deep scratches spotted on its body. Several divers joined the RNLI, HM Coastguard and Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary to help guide the whale to deeper waters without success.
The beaching at Skegness has drawn much attention from the local community and East Lindsey District Council has been forced to urge the public not to go near the whales. A statement from the council said: "As is usual procedure when this type of event occurs, the council must make contact with the relevant authorities to check whether they wish to review the carcasses."
The three that have washed up on the Lincolnshire coast have been visited by the Natural History Museum in London who have begun an investigation into the whales' deaths. Pictures from the scene showed deep cuts on the huge mammals.
Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation said that they were most likely to be from a large group of the mammals which went missing in waters surrounding northern Europe. "There have been 12 other sperm whales that stranded and died, six in the Netherlands and six in Germany," he said Sky News. "They were probably all in the same group, quite a big group which are usually adolescent males a few years old."
Evans added that they probably followed the squid they eat into shallow waters near Norfolk. He said: "They feed on squid and what's probably happened is that squid came in and the whales fed upon them but ran out of food.
"The further south they got the shallower the water gets and when they got to Norfolk, which is very, very shallow, it's quite difficult to navigate and they tend to lose their way and actually strand."