Stranded whale cannot survive

June 18, 2010 12:00 am

, COPENHAGEN, Jun 18 – A whale stranded for two days on the edge of a Danish fjord is ill and has almost no chance of surviving, experts said on Friday, after rescue efforts were called off.

Thousands of people have flocked to see the distressed fin whale at the Vejle fjord in western Denmark.

But rescuers, who have made repeated attempts since Wednesday morning to help it return to the water at high tide, later decided to allow it to "die naturally and in peace."

Firefighters are continuing to spray the mammal, which weighs between 20 and 30 tonnes, with water to give it protection from the sun, according to footage broadcast by Danish channel TV2 News.

Experts who have seen the whale said it was ill and that there was "almost no chance" of it surviving, said Henrik Lykke Soerensen, operations coordinator at the Danish Forest and Nature agency, part of the environment ministry.

"We do not have experience in putting down such large sea mammals and even if one tried it could take hours without any guarantee of success according to the experts," added Soerensen.

Whale expert Tyge Jensen, in agreement with other biologists, said he believed that the whale was "ill and out of instinct left the school (of whales) in order to die alone."

The Nordic spokesman for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) contrasted Danish people\’s response to the whale\’s plight to Denmark\’s policy on whaling.

"Everyone wants to save the whale of the Vejle fjord but no-one can. Everyone can save the thousands of whales brutally killed each year but no-one wants to," said Morten Rasmussen.

Denmark was set to back whaling nations at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission being held in Morocco from Monday, he added.


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