Animals. Dead 17-meter whale washed up on Israeli coast

A considerable and dramatic surprise: a dead whale, almost 17 meters long, was discovered on a beach in southern Israel after a storm that caused significant tar contamination.

It is rare to find whales washed up on the beaches of Israel. But strong winds and unusually high waves shook the Israeli coast between Tuesday and Wednesday, with tons of tar dumped on beaches, from Rosh Hanikra in southern Lebanon to Ashkelon in the northern Gaza Strip.

A death dating back two weeks

The whale, a fin whale, the second largest species in the world after the blue whale, was discovered on Thursday at Nitzanim beach near Ashkelon, and its death was initially attributed to this contamination. This tar, which may have come from an oil discharge from a ship or old tar lifted from the seabed by the storm, has killed many marine animals.

But the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said in a statement Friday that the death “cannot be linked to the tar contamination.” According to her, experts have determined that the cetacean, a 16.9-meter male with an estimated weight of 25 tons, was in an advanced state of decomposition, dating back about two weeks, that is, before contamination. .

The ministry said contamination of this magnitude was rare and vowed to determine the source, believing the cleanup would be “long and difficult.”

Volunteers began cleaning the beaches together with ministry officials, who allocated emergency funds to some municipalities to speed up the process.