Sealife team battled to save Hunstanton whale

Latest images of Whale on Huntstanton beach. ANL-160126-211650009
Latest images of Whale on Huntstanton beach. ANL-160126-211650009
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The sperm whale which washed up in Hunstanton will be removed soon for incineration.

The 40ft whale was part of a pod which was spotted off the Hunstanton coastline on Friday last week.

Staff from the Animal Care Team at the town’s Sealife Centre were the first to raise the alarm after receiving a host of calls from people concerned about sharks or whales.

The team, which had return back to their base due to the poor mobile phone signal to call for help, saw the rest of the pod swim off but unfortunately one was bound for the beach.

Team member Kieran Copeland said: “At high tide we had the most water and the RNLI launched its hovercraft.

“By that point it was getting dark, the hovercraft went between the whale the cliff in a bid to encourage it back out to sea. Unfortunately it didn’t work.

“We called it off as it wasn’t working and then it was noted the animal was on its side.”

Mr Copeland, who has 20 years of animal rescue under his belt, and his team then did their best to make the animal comfortable and keep people away.

He said: “It was pretty horrendous and probably worse when you come back and see things on Facebook with comments like ‘Nothing was done’.

“There was quite a lot done. The only thing I can compare it to is a paramedic. There are times they know that things are not going to work out. It is same for the animal side. We did our best.”

Three more whales later washed up on Skegness beach with a fourth at Wainfleet.

A post mortem examination was conducted at the Lincolnshire resort but this did not happen to the Hunstanton whale. Samples were removed from this body, including the jaw bone.

West Norfolk Council, which had placed guards around the body over the weekend, is finalising arrangements with contractors to remove the animal.

A council statement said: “A number of contractors will be involved in the operation, and once the arrangements have been finalised, it is likely that the carcass will be cut into sections in situ, and then transported to a licensed animal incineration facility out of the county.

“If arrangements can be finalised quickly, the removal is likely to take place before the end of the week.”

Contractors removed the Skegness whales on Wednesday evening and they have been taken to landfill.

n The Sealife sanctuary has announced it will be holding its annual five mile Walk for Whales on June 26.