The dead whale washed up on the Italian coast last weekend is one of the largest ever found in the Mediterranean.
The Italian Coast Guard (Guardia Costiera) said yesterday that the whale had been recovered and transported by sea from the port of Marina Piccola in the municipality of Sorrento to the shipyard of Megaride. in the city of Naples, where the specimen was examined to discover the cause of death before being processed.
Authorities have not specifically reported the size of the animal, but insist it is one of the largest whale specimens ever found in the Mediterranean. It belongs to the species of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) – the second largest remaining animal on Earth after the blue whale when it can reach a length of 25 m and weigh 40 to 70 tons.
Fin whales are currently classified as “critically endangered” in the IUCN Red List. They are distributed in all the oceans of the world, from the polar regions to the tropical seas, but their numbers have sharply declined due to overfishing. The International Whale Commission (IWC) estimates that current species populations range from only 100,000 to 119,000 worldwide.