Wales

Whale spotted off Porthmadog coast in rare sighting

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Media captionWhale filmed in "rare" sighting off Welsh coast

A family have spotted a whale off the Welsh coast in an "amazing" sighting.

Anthony Dale said he and his family were Jet Skiing off the coast of Porthmadog in Gwynedd on Thursday, when they saw the northern bottlenose whale.

The mammal is part of the beaked whale family, which is known for deep sea diving and is very uncommon in shallower waters.

It is not known why it appeared off the Gwynedd coast, but ill-health and climate change could be factors.

Mr Dale said: "We didn't really know what we'd seen. We saw a fin and we strolled over to get a better look and it had gone, we hoped not too far away.

He then switched off the machine and waited for the whale to return.

"I had no idea what it was and forwarded the video to someone we know and he told us it was a northern bottlenose whale," he said.

"Obviously to see anything like that was amazing for me and the family.

"There is obvious concern as to why it was here and hopefully it's just passing through."

Image copyright Anthony Dale
Image caption The whale fin was spotted by the family in the Irish Sea

Northern bottlenose whales can measure up to 9m (29ft) in length and weigh about five tonnes.

They are more commonly found in the deep waters between north-west Scotland and Norway or in the Bay of Biscay and typically travel in pods of at least four.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A northern bottlenose whale died after swimming up the River Thames in January 2006

Anna Bunney, head of education at whale and dolphin conservation charity Orca, said: "It's quite rare because they're a deep diving species of whale, they're part of the beaked whale family. Normally they're found in deeper waters than the Irish Sea."

She said there are a number of reasons as to why the whale ended up off the Gwynedd coast and climate change could be a contributing factor.

"This whale could be unwell, it could be lost or it might have followed prey and just gone into the water here."

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