A fin whale, the second largest animal in the world, was discovered on Friday along Cornwall's south coast

A fin whale, the second largest animal in the world, was discovered on Friday along Cornwall's south coast
This is the moment a humungous female whale washed up dead on a Cornwall beach before floating back out to sea.

The fin whale - the second largest animal on earth - was discovered on Friday along Cornwall's south coast - with marine experts from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust now urging the public to help track the whale after it was swept away overnight.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) were alerted to the stranded whale on Friday afternoon at 3:20pm, after someone reported what was believed to be a live whale near Perranuthnoe Beach.

A team of volunteer marine mammal medics attended the scene but the whale was confirmed dead on their arrival.

Dan Jarvis, director at BDMLR, said: 'The whale was not very easy to spot, being some distance along the coast on a headland and mostly still submerged.

'Only its head was really noticeable having been forced up on to the rocks by the rough sea, while the rest of its body was very much in motion with the tide and waves.

'Unfortunately when we arrived it became apparent the 12-15-metre-long animal was already deceased.

'It was far too dangerous to get close, so our team stayed back a safe distance to assess it visually, collect photos and feed back information to our colleagues at Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Falmouth Coastguard.'

The animal was later identified by BDMLR volunteers as a female fin whale.

It was considered to be in poor nutritional condition, but the cause of death could not be determined without a postmortem examination.

A volunteer from Cornwall's Wildlife Trust's Marine Strandings Network also attended the scene.

The whale was then assessed for a potential postmortem examination for the next day by the Cornwall Marine Pathology Team.

However, when volunteers came back to look for the whale on Friday it had vanished.

Sightings of large whales, including fin and humpback whales, have become more common along Cornwall's coastline in recent years.

Volunteers from Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Seaquest Southwest project recorded 12 fin whale and 21 humpback whale records in 2021.

Abby Crosby, marine conservation officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: 'To see the body of this majestic mammal onshore is extremely upsetting and sad.

'But, if the animal is found again, it provides a fantastic opportunity for us to examine the individual and collect scientifically robust evidence that will help us conserve our marine megafauna for the future.

'At Cornwall Wildlife Trust, we're celebrating 20 years of running the Marine Strandings Network this year.

'It's safe to say we would know far less about the state of our Cornish seas and the threats to our vulnerable marine life if it wasn't for our dedicated strandings volunteers, reports from members of the public and the partner organisations we work so closely with.'

She added: 'If you come across the whale, or indeed any dead marine animal on our coastline, please ring our hotline straight away.'

The wildlife charities are now asking anyone who might find the missing whale to report it immediately.

Members of the public are urged to report all dead animals found along Cornwall's coastline to the Trust's 24-hour strandings hotline on 0345 2012626.

Meanwhile, all live stranded animals in need of rescue can be reported to BDMLR's rescue hotline on 01825 765526.
The fin whale

The fin whale - also called 'the greyhounds of the sea' - can grow up to 80 feet in length and weigh up to 120 tonnes.

The species can be found all over the world but were heavily hunted during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The fin whale is currently considered a vulnerable species, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.