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Rescue operation underway to save stranded whale in waters near Athens

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By Euronews  with AP
A rescue team of divers and vets attempt to care for a whale calf that became stranded in shallow water in a southern Athens seaside area, on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.
A rescue team of divers and vets attempt to care for a whale calf that became stranded in shallow water in a southern Athens seaside area, on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.   -   Copyright  Thanassis Stavrakis/AP Photo

A rescue operation was underway in a seaside part of the Greek capital Athens to save a young whale stranded in shallow water, said ARION, a veterinary care organisation that helps stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises.

It is unclear how the whale calf which is a Cuvier's beaked whale or Ziphius cavirostris, became stranded or sustained an injury to its beak.

ARION said that samples had been taken for further analysis and medical treatment. They urged people to not disturb the whale who is "fighting for his life".

"The condition is stagnant and unfortunately painful for the animal," the organisation said, adding that this type of whale is common in Greek waters.

The whale was stranded yesterday in the nearby Vouliagmeni area, but a rescue mission appeared to successfully free the whale until it was spotted again on Friday.

“The fact that it has appeared in shallow waters means it isn’t at all in good health. At this moment the animal is suffering,” said Environment and Energy Deputy Minister Giorgos Amyras, who was on the scene.

“The prognosis, unfortunately, isn’t good,” the deputy minister added.

“The fact that it has been in these shallow waters for so many hours doesn’t give us much hope. But we of course are doing everything possible to save the animal, which is a Mediterranean species, a jewel of the Greek seas, and I hope it makes it and that we can help it.”