Experts have been forced to put a stranded whale to sleep, after it was discovered beached on the Northumberland coast this morning.
The eight-metre-long Minke was found by a member of the public on sands north of Druridge Bay, alive but in a poor condition, at around 6.30am.
It was reported to Northumbria Police which then contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity.
Richard Ilderton, who is the area co-ordinator for the organisation an was at the scene, said: “We called in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, our own volunteer medic – who works for Northumberland County Council – and Northumbria Fire and Rescue Service, which kindly provided water jets to keep the whale wet and cool.
“We also had two vets on site. The whale was fully grown but massively under-weight and in a very poor condition. We concluded that it would be cruel to try to refloat it on the high tide, so the sad decision was taken to put it to sleep.”
Specialists from the Natural History Museum in London are currently en-route and will perform a post-mortem to determine the cause of the whale’s death.
The county council – which has experience of dealing with beached whales – will dispose of the carcass afterwards.
Mr Ilderton and his fellow experts are due to take part in a national conference on marine life, being held in Newcastle on October 6.