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A massive whale has died in the English Channel after it beached itself and got stranded on rocks.
The 19-metre long female fin whale got stuck on the rocks at the port of Calais on Saturday.
An autopsy will be carried out after the whale – which was thought to be about 30 years old – is removed later today.
Jacky Karpouzopoulos, president of the Mammalogical Co-ordination of Northern France (CMNF), said he thought the whale had been unwell, which Metro reports could explain the rare beaching.
“She was sick but she reached the port of Calais still alive, then she went too close to the rocks and she ran aground,” he told French media.
After it has been examined, the whale – which weighs about 15 tonnes – will be cut up and then cremated.
It is rare for whales such as this one to end up stranded in the area, but it has happened before.
A total of 10 whales were found stranded on Calais beaches in 2015, including a group of seven in a single incident who were thought to have been part of the same pilot whale pod.
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Firefighters desperately tried to keep them alive by spraying them with water, but only three of them survived and made it out back to sea.
Fin whales are the second largest mammals in the world – only blue whales are larger. They are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being vulnerable.
Several different types of whale live in the waters off the coast of France.
Earlier this year, a humpback whale was discovered washed up on a beach on France's Mediterranean coastline, in the south of the country.
It emerged recently that a team of boffins have launched a project to translate whale-speak in the hope of one day making it possible to communicate with them.
It could finally solve the age-old question of whether animals possess language.
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