Public warned not to walk on 'extremely dangerous' railway line to see dead whale

A 17-metre fin whale washed up dead in the village of Culross and will be left to rot.

Police are urging people not to walk on a railway line in Fife to get a look at a dead whale on a beach.

The 17-metre fin whale, which washed up on the shoreline in Culross last month, is to rot away after authorities made the decision not to move the large mammal.

A member of the public first spotted the whale on Wednesday, January 24 and an on-site assessment was made by teams from Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.

The decision was ultimately taken to leave the animal to decompose naturally with the location, near the railway, proving to be a potential challenge to remove it.

Now Police Scotland have issued a warning after they received reports of people walking along the railway line to get a look at the carcass.

A police statement read: “We have received reports that people have been walking along the railway line at Culross to view the dead whale on the beach.

“This is a live railway line and could be extremely dangerous.

“Use the crossings and take care, especially when crossing with children.”

The 17-metre fin whale remains on the shoreline to decompose naturally. Photo: Culross Stables Community Hub/Facebook.

Members of the public are still being advised not to access the shoreline while the carcass is monitored by teams.

Robbie Blyth, head of operations at FFCT, said: “When possible, biologists and veterinarians from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme examine a carcass and conduct a necropsy to try to learn why the mammal may have died.

“On this occasion the whale had already started to putrefy and was not suitable for investigation.

“This is one of the reasons we have decided not to recover the carcass. Also, its location – at the foot of the railway embankment coastal defences – would have presented a challenge in recovering it.

“The location is relatively inaccessible to beach users and dog walkers and we believe that leaving it in situ causes the least disruption to locals and visitors.

“The decision not to recover the carcass has been made after full consultation with key stakeholders and partners including Fife Council, community representatives, Network Rail, Forth Ports, Forth Estuary Forum, NatureScot, SEPA, and Marine Scotland.”

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