Dead 31ft minke whale washes ashore in Scottish tourist hotspot as families and dog owners are warned to stay off popular beach due to risk of infection

A dead whale has washed up on a popular tourist beach in Scotland as locals and dog walkers are warned to avoid the area over health and safety concerns.

The 31ft minke whale was discovered on the shore of North Berwick on Thursday morning, having been spotted floating on its back in nearby waters a day earlier. 

People have been told to not approach the decaying carcass and to keep any dogs  on a leash due to the ‘nasty’ bacteria it will be carrying that can cause disease.

The animal was first seen by staff at the Scottish Seabird Centre at high tide on Wednesday, before coming ashore on the rocks near the harbour, reports the East Lothian Courier.

An East Lothian Council spokeswoman told MailOnline that the whale was a female that measured a ‘substantial size of 9.5 metres (31ft)’. 

The 31ft minke whale (pictured) was discovered on the shore of North Berwick on Thursday morning, having been spotted floating in nearby waters a day earlier

The 31ft minke whale (pictured) was discovered on the shore of North Berwick on Thursday morning, having been spotted floating in nearby waters a day earlier

An East Lothian Council spokesperson added: ‘We were first aware of a dead whale sighted off North Berwick yesterday afternoon and following the tide pattern overnight it has now washed up onto the West Beach. 

‘The council is currently arranging suitable equipment to uplift and take away the carcass. 

‘We are also advising members of the public to keep a suitable distance away from the whale including keeping dogs on leads and not allowed near the whale.’ 

The council is reportedly waiting for specialist equipment so they can remove the carcass from the beach as soon as possible. 

While its stomach has some swelling, a council spokeswoman told MailOnline there was no immediate threat of explosion.

When an animal dies, bacteria inside the carcass produce methane as part of the decomposition process.

If this is not let out of the body it gradually builds up and can lead to an ‘explosion’. 

Whales are the most extreme because their huge size makes the consequences of a gas build-up much greater.

The minke in North Berwick was pictured floating on its back at around 2.30pm on Wednesday, 

Susan Davies, chief of the Scottish Seabird Centre tweeted: ‘Sad to see this #minke whale wash up near to @SeabirdCentre today off #NorthBerwick harbour #EastLothian. 

‘Fascinating species that uses its expandable pleats to take in large quantities of water and fish that it sieves through its baleen plates aiding digestion.’ 

She told MailOnline today: ‘We were all sad to see a common minke whale washed onto the rocks below North Berwick harbour today. 

People have been warned to not approach the mammal (pictured) and to keep any dogs being walked nearby on a leash

People have been warned to not approach the mammal (pictured) and to keep any dogs being walked nearby on a leash

‘It was first spotted further out near Craigleith island by the skipper of one of our seabird wildlife boat trips. Common minke are the smallest of the baleen whales reaching up to 27ft in length. 

‘It prefers cooler waters and, if you are lucky, you can spot it around Scotland’s coastal and inshore waters. 

‘The stranding has been reported to the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) which collates and analyses all reports of stranded cetaceans and can carry out autopsies to understand more about the health and ecology of this fascinating marine animal.’

She added: ‘Seeing a creature of this scale inevitably sparks curiosity but we advise everyone to keep their distance if they wish to look at it.’ 

Minke whales are the smallest of the ‘great whales,’ growing to an average of 35ft (10.6 m) long and weighing up to 20,000 pounds (9 tonnes).

They are also the most common of the great whale species, and can be found throughout the world’s oceans.



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