The whale washed up on Hartlepool’s Steetley Beach has been taken away this morning by council officals using specialist equipment.
Councillor Marjorie James, chair of the Council’s Neighbourhood Services Policy Committee, said: “The Council’s neighbourhood officers were on site this morning at 7.30am to arrange the safe and humane removal of the whale which we estimate is around 18 feet in length and weighs around 5 tonne.
“We used specialist equipment to lift the whale onto a trailer and the operation took around three hours to complete. It is now being taken to John Warren, a specialist animal by-product company in Bishop Auckland.
“This is by far the biggest animal that the Council has had to remove for a very long time and I would like to thank the officers involved for dealing with it in such a sensitive way.”
The whale named Wally by residents was due to be moved using a JCB truck and plastic sheeting but the whale was too much for the truck.
Stephen Hart from HM Coast Guard said: “We had the intenion to put it on the trailer but before they could do that that needed to drag it up the beach.
“But the JCB was not powerful enough to pull it along the beach so we waited aiting for a Caterpillar JCB which has tracks on instead of wheels to move it.”
The London Zoological Society said this is the ninth Minke whale to be recorded in the UK by our research programme this year.
Rob Deaville from The Zoological Society said:“Unfortunately, entanglement in fishing gear is a relatively common finding in Minke whales-and some other baleen whale species- that we have examined at post-mortem over the last 25 years.“Every year there are around 600 strandings of cetaceans around the UK coast and we examine around a quarter of these. We collect this information so we can learn more about the threats they face in UK waters and we’re specifically interested in the causes of death that may be due to human activity, such as this potential entanglement.”
This work is part of project- the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) whichhas been funded by UK government (Defra) since 1990, to record information on all strandings of cetaceans, marine turtles and basking sharks around the UK coast and to examine a proportion for investigation at post-mortem.