Dead minke whale washes up on beach at Ostend

A dead common minke whale has washed up on the beach of Ostend on Monday morning. It appears to be a young whale that became separated from its mother. The animal’s carcass will be examined at Ghent University to determine the cause of death.

A hiker found the mammal stranded on the beach at around 9.00. It was a common minke whale about 3m long and weighing around 300kg.

The area around the animal was cordoned off. Marine biologist Jan Haelters of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences examined the carcass at the beach before it was taken away for further investigation.

"It was a young animal, we suspect it was one year old or less,” said Haelters. “It probably got separated from its mother and didn’t manage to find enough food on its own." The whale likely swam off the coast for a day before becoming stranded, possibly while still alive.

The whale was removed from the beach and taken to Ghent University’s faculty of veterinary medicine, where an autopsy will take place on Tuesday.

It’s quite exceptional for a minke whale to wash up on the Belgian coast. It only happens about once every five years. The last times this happened were in 2013 and 2020.


#FlandersNewsService | The whale washed up on the beach of Ostend © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER

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