Minke whale washes up in Ostend

Minke whale washes up in Ostend
Minke whale washes up in Ostend


A hiker found a washed-up minke whale in Ostend on Monday morning. The animal had probably not died long.

The washed-up minke whale that a hiker found is almost three meters long and has died, says Jan Haelters of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (KBIN). “The animal is several months old and is also very thin. The young animal was probably separated from its mother and ran into trouble finding food. It is quite unusual for a minke whale to wash up here. It only happens once every four or five years.”

Ostend chief rescuer Jonathan Devos saw the animal floating shortly before 9 am. “It is not clear whether it had already died by then. Shortly afterwards it washed ashore and only then did it become clear that there was no life left in it.”

The minke whale is taken from the beach of Ostend and brought to the faculty of veterinary medicine at Ghent University. An autopsy will take place there on Tuesday to determine the cause of death. “We will of course first investigate the cause of death via an autopsy,” says Haelers. “But we will also look at the stomach contents, which will probably be empty. We will also look at the internal parasites, but also at any viruses, bacteria and pollutants in the tissue. After all, baleen whales accumulate toxic substances in their fatty tissue.”

The last minke whale washed up dates from December 11, 2020 in Bredene. That animal then had an empty stomach, intestines full of parasites and two broken jaws. The animal in Ostend is the fourth specimen to wash up on our beaches in the past 25 years.

The article is in Dutch


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