Dead fin whale pulled ashore on Belgian beach, cause probed

Veterinarians and assistants cut the body of a whale into pieces at the De Haan beach on Belgium's North Sea shore, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2018. A dead fin whale was pulled ashore on the Belgian coast, drawing onlookers undaunted by the putrid smell, it was two decades since a similar whale hit the Belgian beaches. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BRUSSELS (AP) — A dead fin whale has been pulled ashore on Belgium’s North Sea coast, drawing onlookers undaunted by the putrid smell.

It has been two decades since a similar whale has hit the Belgian beaches.

Fin whales, which can weigh up to 45,000 kilograms (49 tons), are the second-largest animal in the world. It was being cut into pieces Thursday, with the meat carried off before it rotted further on the De Haan beach.

Professor Thierry Jauniaux of Liege University says scientists will try to establish a cause of death for the whale. He says its “fat is too low and the animal is suffering from emaciation. There is also evidence of some trauma.”

He says the whale could have been hit by a passing ship.

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