Injured young whale rescued near Athens found dead days later

Access to the comments Comments
A rescue team of divers and vets had attempted to care for a whale calf.
A rescue team of divers and vets had attempted to care for a whale calf.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

A sick whale calf that had been rescued off the coast of Athens has now been found dead, Greek authorities said.

The body of the young Cuvier’s beaked whale was found on Wednesday off Salamis island, a few miles from the beach of Alimos where it was last seen on January 28.

Deputy Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Amyras said the cetacean was located by a coast guard vessel that had been patrolling the area.

“Despite the superhuman efforts since last Friday by coast guard and navy divers, as well as vets, medics and volunteers ... to keep the injured and weak animal alive, unfortunately, the young mammal didn’t make it,” he said.

The whale species usually inhabits deep waters, and it was unclear how it had been injured and why it became stranded near an Athens suburb.

Experts had said that its presence in shallow waters indicated that it was unwell. An investigation has now been launched to establish why the animal was unwell.

The Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation issued a statement on Tuesday criticising the attempted rescue operation, saying the disturbance caused by the presence of so many people was not appropriate for an exhausted, injured whale.