Featured Image Credit: Paul Nicklen
By Sarah Sharkey
A bowhead whale has been spotted off the coast of Vlissingen. This is really exciting because it is the first bowhead whale that has ever been spotted in the Netherlands.
Bowhead whales, also called Greenland whales, are only found in the Arctic Ocean and their movement patterns are greatly affected by seasonal melting and freezing of ice. Their thick heads are capable of breaking through several inches of sea ice. An adult whale can weigh between 75-100 tons and reach a length of 50-60 feet long. One distinguishing feature is that they lack a dorsal fin.
The lone whale was swimming close enough to shore that lifeguards on shore were able to spot it.
Albert Dijkstra, Vlissingen lifeguard, approached the whale on a lifeboat for a better look. This whale is believed to be the same whale that was seen off the coast of Belgium last week. Observers in Belgium noticed that there was a rope or net of some kind attached to the whale’s tail.
So it may be swimming closer to shore because it is in trouble. SOS Dolfijn is an Dutch organization to saves stranded animals. They are keeping a close eye on this whale and will intervene if necessary.