A huge humpback whale measuring more than 30 feet long has been discovered washed up dead on a beach in northwestern Spain.
The large marine mammal is thought to be a juvenile and is between eight to 10 metres in length, dwarfing beachgoers who came to take photographs.
It was found on Monday (June 26) on the shoreline of Marmaderio Beach in the municipality of Ferro, in the Galicia region of Spain that borders the Bay of Biscay to the north and Atlantic to the west.
Marine experts said it was the first whale to wash up on this stretch of coastline since 2011 and an autopsy will be carried out on the calf to determine how it died.
Since 1990, there have been a total of four humpback whale strandings in the region. The whale species has been known to occur off the coast of northern Spain, but sightings are rare after decades of hunting in previous centuries decimated the population.
Adult humpbacks can reach more than 50 feet in length and weigh up to 40 tonnes, with males being famous for their distinctive calls, or songs, they use under the waves to communicate.
The whales are also known for their spectacular breaching behaviour which sees them launch their massive bodies from the ocean in amazing displays.
Humpback whales are found all over the world and can migrate more than 9,000 miles each year to give birth or to get to hunting and mating grounds.
Investigators told Europa Press they believe the older calf was sighted a few days before it stranded sparking concerns it may have become caught up in fishing gear.
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Alfredo López, a CEMMA biologist, described the finding as “exceptional” because the humpback whale is a species “on the verge of extinction” and it is very “rare” to see it in Galician waters.
Ferrol Civil Protection said in a statement: “Last night we received notice of a whale washed up on the beach of Marmadeiro. In collaboration with CEMMA cetaceos our Environment Unit (UMA) travels to the area where the biologists proceed to take samples in order to remove the animal.”
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