Dangerous whale site warning
5th August 2003
The public was yesterday warned to stay away from the coastline where a dead whale has become wedged in rocks.
The long-finned pilot whale, which measures five metres, was spotted by coastguards at Mill Bay in Milford Haven, Dyfed.
Cliffs, slippery rocks and the tide have meant experts cannot get near the whale to investigate the cause of its death, and the public has also been warned that the area is too dangerous to visit.
The whale is likely to have died at sea and been brought in by the waves, said Richard Sabin of the UK Cetacean Strandings Project - a government-sponsored scheme by the Natural History Museum to investigate why animals become stranded and whether human factors are a cause.
"It is a species we do see around the UK," said Mr Sabin. "It is a deep-water feeder so when we see them it is usually off the western coast."
Up to 12 long-finned pilot whales are found stranded each year.
Mr Sabin said volunteer co-ordinators and the coastguard would keep an eye on the dead whale with a view to collecting the carcass if it becomes dislodged and washes up again somewhere more accessible.
Meanwhile, a six-metre minke whale was struggling against the tide further up the coast at New Quay yesterday.
Mr Sabin said the sight of a minke was "uncommon but not rare".
He added: "It does not appear to be able to do much. It is being carried and pushed around by the swell, which suggests it is weak."
The strandings team, RSPCA and emergency services went to New Quay yesterday.