One whale found dead on Essex coastline as others remain in estuary

A lost pod of pilot whales off the Essex coastline. Pictures taken by the Essex Police helicopter ea

A lost pod of pilot whales off the Essex coastline. Pictures taken by the Essex Police helicopter earlier this week. - Credit: Archant

A dead pilot whale has been found beached on the Essex coastline.

The mammal was found on the north bank of the Blackwater Estuary near Goldhanger earlier this afternoon.

Its body has been taken away and put into storage before experts from the Zoological Society of London arrive tomorrow to carry out a post mortem examination.

A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who were among those at Goldhanger tending to the dead whale, said that it was a “six foot long juvenile female, clearly emaciated and with an obvious skin condition”.

A pod of around 40 pilot whales was first spotted in the vicinity of the estuary on Tuesday.

An operation involving marine wildlife experts, fisheries teams and Essex Police has been ongoing in a bid to turn the pod back out into deeper water, amid fears they could beach on the coast or offshore sandbanks.

It is thought the whales, which are usually found in deeper water off the coast of Scotland, were chasing a shoal of herring.

Most Read

The remaining whales were last seen today close to Bradwell, at the mouth of the estuary, in the late afternoon.

A search for them will resume tomorrow when daylight returns.