First Female Sperm Whale Standing in 100 years

A post mortem examination has been carried out on the sperm whale, after it died on Sunday

The Sperm Whale that stranded and died on Perranporth beach is thought to be the first female of the species to strand in the UK for 100 years.

Rob Deaville is the Project Manager at the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, at the Zoological Society of London. 

He was part of the team who carreid out the examinations on the beach earlier this week.

He says "historically they've always been males, so we were a little bit taken aback when we found out this was a female sperm whale - it's quite extraordinary really. 

"We have data foing back to 1913 in the UK, so as far as I can tell this is the only female that w've had strand in the UK in 100 years, so it's a hugely unusual event". 

So far there are no signs which point to any reasons why the whale stranded on Perranporth beach in the first place. 

There were no signs of trauma, net marks or disease, but a huge range of samples have been taken to find out whether it had any underlying disease. 

Rob says "ultimatley this animal died because it stranded alive - it' weight is normally supported when its in the water, but once its on shore gravity takes over and it can cause quite profound effects on the side its stranded on, causing organ failure".

You can follow the ZSL Science updates here .

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