The rare images of a fin whale with its body greatly deformed to the point of having difficulty swimming have moved Spain in recent weeks.
The impressive mammal, which measures around 17 meters and weighs around 40 tonnes, was spotted by the coast guard, before being approached by a team from the Oceanográfic aquarium in Valencia, the largest in Europe.
Experts have determined that the whale likely suffers from major scoliosis, a severe curvature of its spine. The cause of this scoliosis is unknown, but in whales it is often caused by impact with a ship.
The Oceanográfic explained that the deformation of the whale can affect not only its ability to swim and dive, but also to feed.
The whale remained near the coast for a few hours before heading back out to sea. Due to his condition, researchers were unable to place a tracer on the animal, so his current condition is unknown.
The fin whale is the second largest animal in the world, with some individuals reaching 27 meters and 70 tons. These whales are surpassed in size only by blue whales, which can exceed 30 meters and 170 tons.
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