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Whale Stranded in Greece Found Dead Despite Rescue Attempts

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The stranded beaked whale that captured the hearts of Greeks has passed away. Credit: Screenshot/Youtube

The whale that was stranded in Greece passed away on Wednesday despite valiant attempts at saving its life by volunteers and veterinarians.

According to an announcement by the Greek Environment Ministry, the beaked whale’s body was found in the shallows of Selinia Bay on the island of Salamina by the Hellenic Coast Guard.

A special team of veterinarians has been sent to the scene to remove the whale, which was a species that normally lives in deep waters. An autopsy will be conducted in the coming days to determine the whale’s cause of death.

Stranded whale in Greece was very ill, injured

The saga of the beaked whale has captivated Greece since it began. The ill whale first appeared in the shallows of a beach in Vouliagmeni, near Athens, last Thursday.

It was led back into the sea, only to reappear confused and stranded on a nearby beach in Alimos just hours later last Friday.

Volunteers and experts were able to assess the whale’s condition in both places. In Vouliagmeni, they determined that it was dehydrated and anemic, but uninjured. By the time it made it to Alimos, however, it had been injured by a boat propeller and was in very poor health.

Alexandros Frantzis, head of the marine animal research organization Pelagos, stated to television news network ERT last week that the whale was in poor condition and was unlikely to survive, as members of this species only inhabit such shallow waters when they are already very unwell.

Frantzis stated that the animal likely had not eaten for months. The diet of beaked whales largely consists of squid and deep sea fish species.

Αfter the beaked whale was discovered for a second time in the shallows, marine biologists and animal experts rushed to the scene in an attempt to help the creature.

After rehabilitating the animal, they helped guide it toward the open sea near the island of Salamina on Saturday, but after only a few hours, the whale became stranded again.

Members of the Hellenic Coast Guard, along with veterinarians, marine biologists, and the Minister of the Environment Giorgos Amyras were all on the scene.

Amyras stated: “The mammal seemed to react well to the medicine that it was given, but the fact that it has returned to the shallows today is not reassuring, because it is of a species that lives in deep water. We are conducting every possible therapy for the beaked whale.”

A volunteer with the organization All for Blue sang to the whale in order to comfort the confused and injured creature as other volunteers and veterinarians were fighting to save it. The video has spread across social media, with many users commenting that they were moved by the tender act.

Unfortunately, the marine mammal passed away just a few days later.

Some organizations criticized the veterinary treatment given to the marine mammal. They allege that the whale was not given the appropriate dose of intravenous fluid for its size. Some claimed that it was given a dose appropriate for a household pet.

Others, such as the Institute of Marine Conservation, “Archipelagos,” stressed that the tragic situation highlighted the country’s lack of protection for injured marine mammals such as the stranded whale.

Advocates called for the creation of a protected area for injured marine mammals in Greek waters.

Beaked whales common in deep waters

The beaked whale is closely related to toothed whales such as killer whales and narwhals.

This species lives in water deeper than 1,000 feet (300 meters), but is known to dive as deep as an incredible 9,816 feet (2,992 meters). Despite this, the beaked whale is among the most commonly spotted beached whales.

Thankfully, the beached whale is populous in seas and oceans across the world, and is not threatened or endangered. It is believed that over 100,000 beaked whales live in the world’s oceans, with the vast majority living in the eastern Pacific.

It seems that beaked whales react negatively to sonar and are more sensitive to the technology than other marine life. Scientists posit that this sensitivity to sonar may be at the root of many strandings and beachings of the species.

Evidence suggests that more beached beaked whales are found in areas of the sea where there is heavy sonar activity.

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