Ailing killer whale captured off Dutch coast

24th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A killer whale has been spotted in the Wadden Sea off the Netherlands for the first time in over 60 years, but was captured and taken to a marine park after it was found to be ailing, officials said Thursday.

"The killer whale was very weak and thin, we took the decision, with the Environment Ministry to capture it in order to take it to the marine park (in central Harderwijk) and look after it," said Bert van Plateringen a spokesman for the park.

"We do not know where it came from nor how it arrived here," he said, adding that the black and white sea mammal was a young female about three years old. It weighed about 400 kilos (880 pounds) and was 3.5 metres (11 feet) in length.

It was moved in a specially adapted lorry and would remain at the marine park until it could be released back into the sea, he said.

Killer whales generally live in groups in waters deeper than the Wadden Sea, which stretches around 500 kilometres (310 miles) from the southwestern Netherlands up to Denmark.

A dead killer whale was washed up on a beach at western Noordwijk in 1963, but no live sightings have been recorded since 1947, according to the Dutch Environment Ministry.

© 2010 AFP

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