A huge fin whale measuring 55ft (16.5m) has washed up dead on a pebble beach at Lynmouth in Devon.
The giant mammal, which is the second largest animal in the world after the blue whale and is endangered, was spotted by a tourist and said by experts to be dead for a day or two.
British Marine Life Divers Rescue members examined the whale and said it had large cuts to its body and part of its tail missing. A spokesman said they are trying to find the cause of death.
'There's a sizeable population of fin whales that live off the coast of Pembrokeshire - it could have been a member of that group,' he said.
A spokesperson for North Devon Council, who are in charge of disposing of the carcass said: 'We are looking at a number of options to remove the animal but the location of the whale and Lynmouth being where it is has created its own difficulties.'
The council's head of property and technical services, Diana Hill added: 'We are proposing to tow the carcass off the beach and to land it at a secure location, where it will be put on a low-loader vehicle and disposed of according to the necessary licensed regulations.'
Fin whales can grow up to 85ft (26m) and weigh 80 tonnes. They're most commonly found in the southern hemisphere but small populations inhabit the North Atlantic and a pod of 20 were seen between north Cornwall and south west Pembrokeshire in May.
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