The carcass of an endangered blue whale, the world’s largest animal, washed up on a Namibian beach on Tuesday. His injuries suggested he was hit by a ship, scientists said.
A whale-watcher spotted the mammal on Monday, “floating upside down” off Namibia’s port town of Walvis Bay, conservationist Simon Elwen told AFP. The body drifted to shore on Tuesday morning, revealing a broken pectoral
“The balance of evidence at the moment strongly suggests it was struck by a ship very close to the bay,” Elwen said. The freshness of the animal’s skin suggested the incident took place near to land. Samples would soon provide more insight into the cause of death, he added.
Blue whales have been slowly re-populating southern Africa’s oceans after being almost wiped out by decades of whaling, but they’re still an endangered species. Only between 10,000 and 25,000 blue whales live on the planet today, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Elwen said it happens more often that marine mammals are hit by ships.