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Tags: iceland | whale | killed | endangered

Iceland Whale Killed, Sparking Backlash From Activists

(YouTube/Sea Shepherd)

By    |   Friday, 13 July 2018 10:17 AM EDT

Icelandic whalers have been accused of killing an endangered blue whale and, if the reports are confirmed, this would mark the first time in 40 years that one of these creatures has been deliberately captured and slaughtered, The Independent noted.

The allegations emerged earlier this week when anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd released photos to its Facebook page of what appeared to be a blue whale being butchered for export at the Hvalur hf whaling station in Hvalfjordur, Iceland.

Whaling company owner, Kristjan Loftsson, has denied the accusations, claiming that the animal killed was either a fin whale or some kind of hybrid, however, experts said the photographic evidence suggests it was a blue whale.

"It's definitely a blue or at the very least a blue-fin hybrid," Ellen Coombs, a biologist at University College London, told The Independent.

Phillip Clapham, of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Alaska Fisheries Science Center, agreed.

"While I can't entirely rule out the possibility that this is a hybrid, I don't see any characteristics that would suggest that," he said in a statement released by Sea Shepherd. "From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale. Given that, notably the coloration pattern, there is almost no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea."

Loftsson remained steadfast in his claims that the slaughtered whale was not of an endangered species.

"We have never caught a blue whale in our waters since they were protected," he told CNN. "We see them in the ocean. When you approach a blue whale, it's so distinct that you leave it alone."

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, protection to blue whales was granted in 1966 and none have been recorded deliberately caught since 1978.

Sea Shepherd founder, Paul Watson, has appealed to Icelandic authorities to intervene.

"This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating international conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland," Watson said in the Sea Shepherd statement. "There can be no legal justification for this crime."

The anti-whaling group's U.K. chief operating officer, Robert Read, added that "the crime committed against this iconic whale must be fully investigated by independent inspectors with DNA samples taken from all the whale meat and parts in storage at Loftsson's whaling station and warehouses."

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TheWire
Icelandic whalers have been accused of killing an endangered blue whale and, if the reports are confirmed, this would mark the first time in 40 years that one of these creatures has been deliberately captured and slaughtered.
iceland, whale, killed, endangered
396
2018-17-13
Friday, 13 July 2018 10:17 AM
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