50ft fin whale washes up on beach in Devon

A large dead whale has washed up on a beach in Devon.

The majestic animal's body was found on Red Rock beach near Dawlish Warren on Thursday morning.

See also: Whale's amazing breach right next to kayakers

See also: Fifth sperm whale washes up on Lincolnshire beach

According to the BBC, it was initially believed that the remains were that of a sperm whale, but it has since been confirmed as a fin whale by Rob Deaville at the Zoological Society of London.

The animal as drawn crowds of onlookers to the beach. One witness told the site that it was "beautiful" and "very, very sad".

But Teignbridge Council has advised members of the public not to approach the carcass, reports Sky News.

The council will likely dispose of the body, either by taking it to a landfill site or through incineration.

According to Wikipedia, the fin whale is the second-largest animal after the blue whale. The largest reportedly grow to 27.3m (89.6ft) long with a maximum confirmed length of 25.9m (85ft), a maximum recorded weight of nearly 74 tonnes, and a maximum estimated weight of around 120 tonnes (132.5 tons).

American naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews called the fin whale "the greyhound of the sea... for its beautiful, slender body is built like a racing yacht and the animal can surpass the speed of the fastest ocean steamship."

It is found in all the major oceans, from polar to tropical waters. It is absent only from waters close to the ice pack at the poles and relatively small areas of water away from the open ocean.

The highest population density occurs in temperate and cool waters. Its food consists of small schooling fish, squid, and crustaceans including copepods and krill.

The fin whale was heavily hunted during the 20th century and is an endangered species. Over 725,000 fin whales were reportedly taken from the Southern Hemisphere between 1905 and 1976, as of 1997 only 38,000 survived.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) issued a moratorium on commercial hunting of this whale, although Iceland and Japan have resumed hunting. The species is also hunted by Greenlanders under the IWC's Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling provisions.

Global population estimates range from less than 100,000 to roughly 119,000.

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