A 30-ton fin whale washed on De Haan beach on the Belgian coast on Thursday, October 25.
The 18-meter long whale had been spotted floating in the sea the day before and was towed on the beach in the early hours of Thursday, attracting scientists, veterinarians and crowds of locals.
Fin whales are the second largest species of whale and constitute an endangered species.
Veterinary researchers from the universities of Ghent and Liege were at work on the animal, cutting it into pieces to remove it from the beach, carrying out post mortem examinations to learn more about the whale and its causes of death, but also seizing the opportunity to collect samples and learn more about the species.
Researcher and director of the museum of Ghent University museum, Marjan Doom, told Belgian broadcaster VTM that parasites had been found on the skin of the whale and that samples had been taken from its intestines for study by microbiologists.
Local media reported that the pieces of the whale had been sent to a laboratory for a full autopsy, which results were not available yet.