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Mystery as huge 12ft whale washes up dead on banks of UK river

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A 12ft whale has been found dead on a river bank in the UK.

Coastguards were alerted about the washed-up animal on Friday afternoon when it was discovered in Kent at the side of the River Medway

A volunteer rescue team from the Isle of Sheppey was then sent the following day and the mammal is being transferred to the National History Museum to be examined, reports The Mirror.

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A spokesperson for Sheppey Coastguard Team said: "After the animals are reported we will then get help if they are alive. But, if they are sadly dead, we fill out a form that needs measurements and particular information which is then sent on to the Natural History Museum. They then can come and see it if they wish to get more information."

When any whales, dolphins and porpoises are discovered, it must be reported to HM Coastguard, whether they are dead or alive, as they are classed as "royal fish".

The animal's discovery comes two years after a sperm whale died when it became stranded in the Thames estuary.

The whale's body was seen just off of the Sheppey shoreline.

An endangered Sei whale was also found dead in the same estuary, when it was found floating in the Thames off Gravesend, Kent, in 2019.

But there was a happier ending for "Benny the Beluga", who hit the headlines with his unexpected visit to the Thames in September 2018.

He swam around the Gravesend area of the River Thames for months as there was plenty of food available in the estuary waters – capturing the attention of the world's media.

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He is believed to have finally headed home in January 2019 after his presence sparked a surge in visitors to the area and worldwide fame.

Last November, pictures appeared to show a whale in the English Channel off St Margaret's Bay near Dover, Kent.

The creature seemed to be heading towards nearby Ramsgate.

Just last month, meanwhile, a minke whale had been seen swimming inside Dover Harbour, the second such sighting off the Kent coast in a week.

In October 2019 a humpback whale nicknamed Hessy by locals, was seen on the Thames near Dartford, but was killed in a collision with a ship a few days later.

It is not yet known what type of whale the latest discovery was, or the circumstances of its death.

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