Whalers accused of slaughtering endangered blue whale off coast of Iceland

Sea Shepherd volunteers monitoring the Hvalur hf whaling station in Hvalfjordur, Iceland, claim to have documented the slaughter of an endangered Blue whale on the night of July 7.

Multiple experts who saw the photos said the whale was nearly certainly a blue whale, going by its colour, pattern, and fin and tail shape.

Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd has claimed a whaling company in Iceland killed an endangered blue whale.

Heart-breaking photos have emerged appearing to show that hunters in Iceland killing a rare blue whale, which are protected after they almost became extinct due to commercial whaling.

Humane Society International senior marine scientist Mark Simmonds also believed it was a juvenile blue whale or a rare fin whale-blue whale hybrid.

Sea Shepherd said, 'There has not been a Blue whale harpooned by anyone for the last fifty years until this one harpooned by Hvalur 8.

Hvalur hf. have now hunted 22 fin whales since the beginning of the season.

"Photographs point to the fact that it's a hybrid whale and we're nearly certain that it is one, but we can't be sure until autumn when we get it DNA tested", he said, according to ABC News.

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Photographs and video taken by the Sea Shepherd UK team near the whaling station allowed them to examine the species identifying indicators of skin color/pattern, baleen color, dorsal fin shape and tail stock.

"It's bad enough that Iceland is already killing endangered fin whales, but it beggars belief that this whaling crew couldn't even tell the difference between a fin and blue whale".

Dr Phillip Clapham from NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Centre said: "It has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the coloration pattern".

Activists want the animal to have DNA tests to prove it is a blue whale.

"The killing of such a majestic creature, blue whale or hybrid, represents a significant crime against nature, given the rarity of these species and the threats to their survival today". One has not been slaughtered for more than 50 years.

'This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating worldwide conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland.

Blue whales are an endangered species but hybrids are not a protected species. Prior to the catastrophic commercial whaling of the 20 century it is estimated that there were in the region of a quarter of a million blue whales, but their populations crashed in the 1950s and 60s.

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