August 27, 2011 by USA Post
The whale was still alive when found early in the morning stuck in the sands of the town of Zarautz, but died soon after, said marine scientist Enrique Franco.
The cause of the disappearance of the whale was not known, but Franco said: “. It is almost certainly came here to die, it is not uncommon for animals to the beach when they are very sick”
Despite its large size, the whale had not yet reached maturity, said Franco, vice president of the Society for the Study and Conservation of Marine Fauna of Spain in the Bay of Biscay.
“It was a boy of 5 years of age, and mature specimens can live as long as humans, 60 or 70 years old,” he said.
When the powerful tug was unable to drag the body from the beach, authorities said it would take two large cranes to lift a truck. The aim, Franco said, is to determine the cause of death and preserve the bones for scientific and teaching.
“These are large animals, and this could weigh between 20 and 30 tonnes,” the scientist said, adding that the size of the whale became very difficult due consideration at the beach.
A large crowd of tourists and residents had gathered on the sands of Zarautz to take pictures and see the attempts to remove the dead whale.
Franco said the whales, like Moby Dick by Herman Melville, were hunted nearly to extinction in the last century because of oil of exceptional quality in their heads. It was especially appreciated for lubricating watches.
These whales can descend to a depth of 3,000 meters (9,850 feet) and hunt there in total darkness for up to two hours, using a sonar tracking system to detect prey and navigate through the ground, he said.
“Part of their mystique is that no other animal can dive so deep,” said Franco.
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