The precise cause of the whale's death will never be known as researchers are unable to gain access to the body
This heartbreaking footage shows the carcass of a dead sperm whale which died after getting trapped in a cove.

The video was captured on May 15 from the top of a 40-metre high cliff in Fethaland in the Shetland Islands and shows the 55-tonne whale's body floating next to rocks.

Researchers have said the precise cause of the large male's death will never be known as they are unable to gain access to the rotting body.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, which rescues, rehabilitates and releases seals and otters in Shetland, were called out to investigate the discovery.

A spokesman for Hillswick Wildlife said: 'A report came in of a dead sperm whale trapped in a cove on the northern tip of Shetland's mainland in a very remote corner of the islands.

'We went out to ascertain the general health and well-being of the marine environment and marine mammal in particular.'

'The male sperm whale had been dead for some time and was floating at the foot of sheer 40 metre high cliffs, so it was impossible to reach it to take samples.

'Sperm whales occasionally strand on Shetland, and in 2000 the skeleton of a sperm whale was preserved and reassembled and is on display on the island of Vaila.'

The whale will now become a vital source of food for other wildlife.

The spokesman added: 'The cause of death of this whale will never be known.

'But it will probably remain in the cove providing food for birds and marine creatures until it decomposes and sinks to the bottom of the sea.'