Whale calf stranded off Athens coast led in deep waters

A whale calf that had become trapped in shallow water in a seaside area of the Greek capital was led to the open sea and set free on Saturday, state-run news agency AMNA said.

Divers and vets were assisted by a private boat and the coast guard which helped lead the animal in deep waters.

The animal was an injured young Cuvier’s beaked whale, or Ziphius cavirostris, according to Arion, a research organization that provides veterinary care for stranded cetaceans. The species usually inhabits deep waters, and it was unclear how it had been injured and why it became stranded in the Alimos area of southern Athens.

On Thursday, the whale had been sighted in shallow water in the nearby area of Vouliagmeni, and divers had been called in to lead it out to sea. The operation had initially appeared successful, but the animal returned to shallow waters Friday morning.

Environment and Energy Deputy Minister Giorgos Amyras, who was on the scene, said a blood sample had been drawn and sent for analysis to determine what medication the animal might need, while an antibiotic had already been administered.

“The fact that it has appeared in shallow waters means it isn’t at all in good health. At this moment the animal is suffering,” he said Friday.

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