A rare northern bottlenose whale measuring more than five metres long washed up on a beach in Porthcawl, Wales (UK) recently. Usually found in small numbers off the Northern Isles and Western Isles of Scotland, the decomposed whale was found by walkers on Sker beach near Porthcawl. Thought to be a young animal it is the third time this species of whale has been spotted on the Welsh coast, the first was a live stranding in Tenby, Pembrokeshire 20 years ago and the second in slight decomposition in Prestatyn. Rod Penrose of the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme removed samples for DNA testing, however due to the state of decomposition, together with extensive scavenger damage to the carcass, he was unable to determine the cause of death.
The northern bottlenose whale is the best studied species within the beaked whale family – in January 2006 one created a media frenzy when it found its way up the river Thames to the city of London – sadly it did not survive.