Pas de Calais: a beached beaked whale – Science et Avenir

The 7.60m long beak was found stranded on Monday morning on Sangatte Beach on France’s north coast, from where experts hoped it would be able to escape with the tide, according to the Coordinating Mammology of Northern France (CMNF).

The cetacean, a female “carrying abnormal stigmata,” was “probably stuck due to disorientation,” Jackie Karpouzopoulos, CMNF president, told AFP.

By mid-morning, he hoped the “very lively” animal might be able to swim away with the tide, but expressed fear that it might also drown.

He added that the beaching of this specimen of a boreal species “living along the Arctic coasts” is “exceptional, in 40 years of activity I have never seen anything like it.”

“It’s impossible to move her” to help her return to the sea, he explained.

The cetacean has a bleeding wound on its head, an AFP journalist noted on the spot.

“It’s surface damage caused by hitting switches,” not the cause of its grounding, according to Mayor Guy Allemand.

If he dies, the animal, which he says washed ashore during the previous high tide at night, should be autopsied on site early in the day, before the rendering team intervenes, he told AFP.

In February, a 9.53-metre female humpback whale was found washed ashore on a beach in Pas de Calais, between Calais and Marc, which Mr Karpouzopoulos said is also “exceptional”.

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