Struggling whale with severe scoliosis spotted off the coast of spain

Friday, 26/05/2023, 12:14 (GMT+7)

A 40-ton fin whale, previously suspected to be in distress, was later determined to suffer from spinal deformation, according to the New York Post.

Approximately 200 miles southwest of Barcelona, the massive whale was spotted near Cullera beach in Valencia. Concerned about the whale's well-being, a passerby on a boat contacted rescuers, believing the whale appeared entangled near the lighthouse area.

Struggling whale with severe scoliosis spotted off the coast of spain 1
Image Credits: Oceanographic Foundation

Upon examination by biologists and veterinarians from the Oceanographic Foundation, it was confirmed that the whale was not entangled in any driftnet. Instead, it was found to have a severe spinal deviation, specifically scoliosis, which had significantly altered its anatomy.

It is uncommon for whales, which are marine mammals, to develop spontaneous scoliosis, as stated in a 2021 study published in Nature. Previous cases of cetaceans with scoliosis were typically the result of traumatic causes, such as collisions with ships.

Due to the whale's size and its spinal malformation, veterinarians were unable to attach a remote tracker to gather more detailed information about its condition, biology, and movement. After a few hours, the nearly 56-foot whale ventured back into the open sea, distancing itself from the coast.

However, wildlife officials cautioned that the whale might reappear in the coming days due to its overall condition and swimming difficulties.

The fin whale, which is the second-largest whale species globally, following the blue whale, is known to frequent Spanish Mediterranean waters during the summer.

Watching the video below: