Rare blue whale hybrid possibly hunted by Icelandic whaling company
12 July, 2018, 20:10 | Author: Myra Gill
However experts believe the whale could be a blue whale-fin whale hybrid.
"This bad incident comes as Japan is rumoured to be planning an attempt to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling, and clearly speaks to how utterly inappropriate it is for countries to even contemplate allowing a large-scale return to this grossly inhumane and haphazard industry".
Sea Shepherd claim that the Hvalur hf whaling station in Hvalfjordur killed and slaughtered the endangered animal, then posed with its body.
Multiple experts who saw the photos said the whale was nearly certainly a blue whale, going by its colour, pattern, and fin and tail shape.
A whaling company has been accused of killing an endangered blue whale off the coast of Iceland.
Crew members then took turns posing for photo straddling its back, having needed run-ups to clamber on top of the world's biggest animal, video from the scene showed.
Whale scientists, including senior marine scientist of Humane Society International (HSI), Mark Simmonds, believe the whale was a juvenile blue whale or possibly a rare fin whale-blue whale hybrid.
During this year's season, Sea Shepherd said Hvalur hf had killed 22 whales.
Dr Phillip Clapham, from the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Centre, said: 'While I can't entirely rule out the possibility that this is a hybrid, I don't see any characteristics that would suggest that.
Loftsson is allowed by the Icelandic Government to hunt fun whales, despite the global moratorium on whaling, but killing blue whales is illegal everywhere. "Photographs point to the fact that it's a hybrid whale and we're nearly certain that it is one, but we can't be sure until autumn when we get it DNA testetd", he says speaking to mbl.is.
"This whale, when you see it swimming in the ocean, it was like a fin whale", he explained.
Activists want the animal to have DNA tests to prove it is a blue whale. "Hybrids are not a protected species". Blue whales and Fin whales are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Simmonds, said: "This awful incident comes as Japan is rumoured to be planning an attempt to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling, and clearly speaks to how utterly inappropriate it is for countries to even contemplate allowing a large-scale return to this grossly inhumane and haphazard industry". Before the commercial whaling of the 20th century there were about quarter of a million blue whales.
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