Three whales that washed up on the Suffolk coast may have died after becoming disorientated by offshore windfarms, marine experts believe.
The coastguard received reports of a minke whale calf that had become separated from its mother on Friday night. By the next afternoon it had been found dead at the mouth of the River Ore and its mother was found washed up near Felixstowe. Yesterday another dead adult was seen off the Harwich coast. They are likely to have come from the same pod meaning that an entire family could have been lost.
Council staff are trying to establish what happened before they dispose of the carcasses, one of which is about seven metres long and likely to weigh more than five tonnes. Wildlife experts claim that the noise generated by wind turbines can affect the sonar whales use to navigate, steering them off course. There are several commercial wind farms off East Anglia including Gunfleet Sands, which has 48 turbines.
John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said the upsetting scenes were becoming more frequent on the east coast. He added: “My personal opinion is that it could be a consequence of wind farms and the amount of sand in the water. If you stop the boat off the coast you can feel the vibrations and hear the noise.” His crew is monitoring 20 miles of coast for any more whales.