Rare stranding of Sowerby's beaked whale in Kent
Friday 6 August 2010
Stranded in Kent, a Sowerby's beaked whale was retrieved and analyzed by ZSL staff along with local maritime and coastguard agency officers.
On 22 July a 4.4m long male Sowerby’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens) was found stranded at Seasalter, near Whitstable, Kent.
It was retrieved and a post-mortem was carried out by ZSL staff from the Defra funded UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) along with the local Maritime and Coastguard Agency officers. Results are still pending and will be released when available.
Strandings of beaked whales are rare, as they are normally found in deeper waters off the continental shelf where they feed on squid.
Only 46 stranded Sowerby’s beaked whales have been recorded around the UK coastline by the CSIP since its inception in 1990 and this is the only stranding of this species recorded in Kent during the last 20 years.
The CSIP coordinates the investigation of all whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans), marine turtles and basking sharks that strand around the UK coastline.
As well as documenting each individual stranding, they also retrieve a proportion for investigation at post-mortem which provides valuable information on causes of death, disease, contaminants, reproductive patterns, diet and also useful pointers to the general health of the populations living in the seas around our coasts.
The CSIP depends on the public's help in the reporting of strandings around the UK – please click on the link for more information on how to report a stranding.