Beached Whale Found on East Lothian Coast Entangled in Rope
A juvenile humpback whale has been found washed ashore on Scotland's eastern coast, entangled in rope.
The body of the 9m-long male was found beached on Tuesday morning at John Muir Country Park, near Tyningham in East Lothian, Scotland. The state of the carcass suggested the whale had died recently, probably during the night before the discovery.
The whale had been sighted in the Firth of Forth during the last few weeks, according to Jill Mackay, a spokesperson for East Lothian Council. 'It had been in the area for a while,' she said, adding, 'it was previously spotted with a marine buoy attached to it. It had become accidentally entwined with it.' They buoy was no longer attached to the whale when it was discovered, but the ropes in which it had become entangled remained.
Whether or not the entanglement had contributed to the whale's drowning remains uncertain, however, a post-mortem is due to be carried out to ascertain the cause of the whale's death. The contents of its stomach will be examined, and scars caused by the ropes will determine for how long the whale has been entangled.
The location of the whale is being kept out of the public domain at this time, for fear that people might damage the body, or potentially try to remove the animal's teeth.
Humpback whales are frequent visitors to the area, migrating north to feed after breeding during the winter around the Azores. While entanglements and strandings are rare, the problem of 'ghost gear' – discarded, lost, or abandoned fishing and marine equipment – poses a substantial threat to many marine animals.