Kenfig National Nature Reserve
Tel: 01656 743386
Fax: As above
Rare Whale Found on Sker Beach A Sowerby's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon bidens) was found dead on Sker Beach on Sunday 25 October.
The whale had been dead for several weeks, finally coming to rest on the beach of Kenfig National Nature Reserve. The skin had been worn away and the head damaged so the distinctive long beak was missing. The male whale measured about 14 foot long which was typical for this small species. Scars on the animal's back were probably inflicted during its life when fighting with other males. The cause of death is not known. It was dragged off the beach with the nature reserve's tractor the next day and later taken for disposal at a site in Frome, Somerset.
Also known as North Atlantic Beaked Whales, they live in very deep water where they feed mainly on squid and molluscs. They typically range in waters 200 to 1,500 metres (650 to 5,000 ft) deep and they are able to dive for almost 30 minutes. Little is known about them because they are so rarely seen. Most information has been gleaned from dead or beached individuals. Rod Penrose of Marine Environmental Monitoring carried out a primary autopsy on Kenfig NNR's whale and collected samples of body tissue for study by specialists in London to help learn more about these rarely seen whales.
Kenfig NNR wardens plus Dennis Morgan and his Bridgend County Borough Council team in the clean up.
Countryside Ranger, Barry Atkinson for providing the photographs.
To learn more about marine strandings and whales visit:
Marine Environmental Monitoring (especially the fascinating annual reports)
London Natural History Museum - Whale and Dolphin Stranding Scheme
The Beaked Whale Resource
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