Tuesday May 31, 2011
Gerard Tubb, north of England correspondent
A desperate rescue mission to save a giant sperm whale beached on the northern east coast of England has failed.
Marine experts with the body of a giant sperm whale in Redcar
The stricken mammal, which was more than 40ft long, was first spotted on Redcar beach by a dog walker as the tide went out at 6am.
Cleveland Police were alerted and marine experts rushed to the scene to try and help the creature.
The coastguard put up a cordon as officials from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity battled to save the whale.
It was partially submerged on the beach and in distress. Firefighters used their jets to spray it in a bid to keep it alive but by 9am, it had died.
Firefighters doused the whale with water but it died later
Marine experts say the mammal, which lives of giant squid and fish in the Atlantic, could have died from natural causes.
As post mortem tests were conducted. hundreds of people were flocking to the beach to see the whale’s body.
Hoardes of day trippers, locals and holiday makers were enjoying the sunshine and taking pictures of the spectacle.
Redcar resident Sean Cunningham, 33, had stopped off on his way to Scarborough with his 20-month-old son Ethan.
“We said ‘You won’t find one of them at the Sea life Centre will you?’ and came down here instead,” he said.
The giant sperm whale was found when the tide went out
Grandmother Shelia Hagger, 67, diverted from a trip to visit her mother-in-law and was watching from a bench on the coastal path.
“My husband and grandchildren are down there but this is close enough for me. It’s a shame it has died,” she said.
Neighbourhood watch manager Marion Walker, was patrolling the coastal path in a high visibility jacket and a megaphone in her hand.
“It’s huge isn’t it?”, she said as she looked across the sand at the 8ft-high whale surrounded by blue coastguard tape and a string of onlookers.
Richard Ilderton from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue told Sky News the whale had stopped breathing at 9am but because they can hold their breath for about an hour they had to wait to make sure it was dead.
“It wasn’t a very good prognosis from the start,” he said as he watched colleagues begin collecting samples to be sent away for analysis.
“It shouldn’t be in the North Sea and it looks malnourished. Its teeth are quite worn so it could be old.”
The whale will be dragged up the beach by a local demolition firm and a vet from the Zoological Society of London will take measurements and more samples.
“Redcar” is my local beach and indeed have walked along it countless times.
Also it is the very place Terry and I sail past as we head for the best fishing ground. I would have liked to have seen the Sperm Whale when it was alive swimming in the water around the boat. But not so interested in seeing the poor animal lying dead on the beach, somewhat too morbid for me.
Cherno ate a little last night but could not keep it down and vomited it back up during the night. He has eaten some scrambled eggs this morning, hope he can keep it down this time. He is drinking plenty of water so that is good.
Cherno shall be returning to the Vet tomorrow (sat ) because of his vomiting. His appetite is ravenous and is taking in ample amounts of fluid. He is up for a little horse play and is chasing flies around the garden as normal. He just can’t keep his food down. Because of this I feel it necessary not to wait untill his next booked appointment which is Thursday the 9th.
Had Cherno at the Vets yesterday morning (Sat) and explained that Cherno still can’t keep his food down. The Vet thought that it may be the antibiotics that were making him vomit So the Vet changed the type of antibiotic tablets he had been prescribed on Tuesday. I told the Vet that he had been vomiting since “before” he started on the antibiotics. The Vet made no comment . He then administered another 2 injections and gave me a bottle of “Antepsin” to try and calm his tummy. The Vet told me to keep the Thursday appointment that had already had been arranged. At present Cherno had his meds this morning and eaten a little scrambled egg and rice. 4 hours later he is sleeping and I am waiting to see what happens when he wakes up. That is all I can do for the poor fellow.
I think tha Antepsin is doing it’s job, Cherno has not parted with his food since he was started on it. That was Saturday. He is still only eating scrambled egg and rice for breakfast. But tonight I shall add some boiled Chicken and fingers crossed he shall keep it down. If all is well I shall begin to add small amounts of his normal food. Hopefully Cherno has turned the corner. “hopefully” that is !
Had Cherno at the Vet’s again today (Thursday) The vet appeared to be quite sure that Cherno’s problem is an ulcerated stomach. Hence the black motions, Cherno passed another last night. But has not vomited for a nearly a week now. He was given a repeat prescription minus the jabs. The Vet advised me to keep him on small amounts of easy digestible food 3/4 times a day. So I am waiting still for his motions to become normal. It will be a relief when they do. Yes I am suspect Cherno is over the worst and is well on his way to a full recovery. When he produces a normal motion I shall be sure ! Until then anxious I shall remain.
“ALL FOR THE LOVE OF OUR FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS “