After a 40-year hiatus, blue whales return to Atlantic coast of Spain     

WION Web Team
Madrid  Published: Aug 25, 2021, 04:34 PM(IST)

A whale (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

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The world’s largest mammals, blue whales, have finally returned to Atlantic coast of Spain after an interval of more than 40 years. A marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who is also head of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute in O Grove, Galicia, spotted the first one off the coast of Galicia in north-west Spain in 2017    

The world’s largest mammals, blue whales, have finally returned to Atlantic coast of Spain after an interval of more than 40 years.   

A marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who is also head of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute in O Grove, Galicia, spotted the first one off the coast of Galicia in north-west Spain in 2017.

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Another whale was spotted in 2018, another in the following year. In 2020, two whales were seen. Just a week ago, a different one was sited off Islas Cíes, near O Grove.   

“It was not yet clear whether the climate crisis was leading the creatures to change their habits and return to an area where they were hunted almost to extinction,” Díaz said.

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The biologist said, “I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor. In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”   

A centuries-old whaling industry used to thrive in Galicia through a dozen whaling ports. Until 1986, Spain did not ban whaling. Till the ban could come up, the blue whale was all but extinct in the region.   

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