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Rare Whale Washes Up At Purbeck

Baleen whale near Rope Lake Head by Ilay Cooper (12)

9:18am 3rd November 2012
(Updated 9:22am 3rd November 2012)

There's been a shock discovery off the Dorset Coast.

A rare fin whale has been found washed ashore near Rope Lake Head on Purbeck.

Dorset Wildlife Trust experts say the angle of the whale makes it hard to identify, but it's believed to be a young male baleen (filter feeding) whale Balaenoptera physalus - the second largest whale in the world.

Baleen whale near Rope Lake Head by Ilay Cooper (12)

Although the dead marine giant was just a baby it measured 44 foot in length.

If confirmed it'll be the first time a fin whale has been reported dead or alive in Dorset.

It was found by a local resident who was walking along the shore at low tide last week.

Dorset Wildlife Trust's Marine Conservation Officer, Emma Rance, said: "Whilst it is a sad sight and there doesn't appear to be any obvious signs of how it died, it is always interesting to have the chance to see such giants.  However, it's important to remember that all whales and dolphins carry transmissible disease and infections and can pose a health risk when dead or alive so please keep your distance. Rope Lake Head can also be difficult to access with the added risk of being cut off by the tide and unexpected cliff falls."

 (Photo thanks to Ilay Cooper)

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