Amsterdam: A gigantic bowhead whale was seen off the coast of Vlissingen in the Netherlands. It is the first time such a huge beast was seen in Dutch waters.
But marine groups are now warning people to keep their distance. The whale was first spotted on Monday and was visible from the beach promenade.
Lifeguard Albert Dijkstra then approached the whale on a lifeboat and confirmed the sighting. He said that the bowhead was swimming very close to the beach on Monday night and seemed to be heading north.
Marine rescue charities SOS Dolfijn and EHBZ, who are keeping watch, advised people to steer clear.
The whale may have been seen off Belgium last week, they said, with a net stuck on its tail. “It could be that the animal is in trouble,” a spokesman for SOS Dolfijn told NU.NL.
“To our knowledge, it’s the first sighting ever of a bowhead whale off the Dutch coast. It is very special and unique.” The charity now says that it will keep an eye on the animal as it swims and intervene to help it if necessary.
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Bowhead whales, or Greenland whales, are typically found in the Arctic and grow up to 18 metres long.