For the last three days, a fin whale has been stranded in a Danish fjord. It was thought that the young behemoth was ill and was expected to die in the near future. It had become exhausted after struggling to free itself from the shallow bank. As firemen sprayed it with water, trying to give it a less painful departure from this world, the whale began swimming again today, restoring hope for onlookers. As evening comes, rescuers will try to point the whale in the right direction, back into the high seas.
The fin whale is the second largest animal on the planet (behind only the blue whale), reaching lengths of 88 feet. A newborn weighs 4000 pounds, and an adult can grow to be 150,000 pounds. Because of their size, they, along with the blue whale, produce the lowest-frequency sounds sounds made by any animal. They live almost exclusively off of krill, an animal similar to a tiny shrimp. Fin whales live to be approximately 100 years old.
Fin whales are currently listed as being endangered, with an estimated 40,000 individuals still remaining in the wild. Fin whale populations are primarily harmed by commercial whalers, seeking their blubber, oil and baleen. In the 1930s, over 28,000 fin whales were caught each year. Hunting of fin whales became illegal in all waters in 1987, though many countries still allow themselves a dozen or so creatures a year to hunt and market. Conservationists continue to push for zero fin whales to be hunted each year.