Rare arctic bowhead whale seen off Cornwall

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WhaleImage source, Marine Discovery

A whale rarely seen in British waters has been spotted off the Cornwall coast.

The 23ft (7m)-long bowhead whale was seen in shallow waters at Long Rock Beach, near Penzance on Sunday.

It is the second sighting of the species in the last 15 months after another off the Isles of Scilly in February last year.

Sea Watch Foundation said both appeared to be of juveniles and the sightings could be of the same animal.

Image source, Marine Discovery

Bowhead whales, which can grow to 65ft (20m), are normally found 2,000 miles (3,200km) further north, according to marine conservationists.

Dan Jarvis, regional co-ordinator of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said there were only an estimated population of 10,000 in the wild.

"We are not sure if it's part of a trend, but it's amazing to see an animal like that in our waters," he said.

A bowhead whale was also spotted off Brittany in France last week according to Sea Watch Foundation.

Bowhead whale

  • Scientific name: Balaena mysticetus
  • Common names: Arctic whale, Greenland right whale
  • Second only in size to the mighty blue whale
  • May live for more than 100 years, possibly up to 200 years

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