Several whales recently washed up on the beach in Skegness, England, prompting local officials to try and figure out what to do with them.
The sperm whales, which are around 15 meters (48 feet) in length, are thought to have been from the same pod of a whale that died Friday just a few miles from them. A week ago, around a dozen whales of the same species washed up on German and Dutch beaches, CNN reported.
— Paul Fisher (@PaulFisheredit) January 25, 2016
“These are deep water animals, which usually live in pod of 20 or 30 individuals. They probably got disoriented while looking for food and ended up in shallow waters,” Peter Evans, director of Sea Watch Foundation, told CNN.
“We believe that the three whales at Skegness died at sea and then washed ashore,” coastguard official Richard Johnson also said.
And here’s one of me with a dead whale pic.twitter.com/xJ6yuqdOMB
— Gerard Tubb (@TubbSky) January 25, 2016
However, there was an outcry on social media after a man was photographed allegedly taking a tooth from one of the mammals.
(*WARNING: A photo of the alleged tooth-removing incident is below. The image is graphic.*)
The outcry continued when after it was discovered people had tagged the whale bodies with graffiti while others took photos. Another person was criticized for taking a selfie in front of a whale.
— Miranda (@Miranda4Animals) January 25, 2016
— Chris Dunn (@MyMovieReels) January 25, 2016
Another painted (sic) “mans fault” on the fin of one of the whales. And another whale had “Fukushima” written on the side, referring to the Japanese nuclear power plant disaster during the March 2011 earthquake in Japan.
The unnamed man who is alleged to have removed a whale’s tooth spoke with the local Skegness Standard newspaper, saying he didn’t remove anything.
Sea Watch said that removing the whale carcasses will take a few weeks. They will be “bulldozed,” according to a BBC report.
— Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) January 26, 2016
Decomposing whale bodies can be a public health hazard, as the internal gas makes them prone to explosions. One of the whales in the U.K. reportedly exploded, CNN said.