Endangered Blue Whale Illegally Slaughtered by Icelandic Whalers, Claim Activists

"There is a large dorsal side with a small dorsal fin like a fin whale...this explains perhaps why it was hunted as such", he said, adding its "size and markings on the side are like those of a blue whale".

Sea Shepherd, another conservation group, claimed Wednesday that the dead whale was a blue whale as evidenced by experts they've spoken to and experience with the world's largest animal.

Footage captured by Sea Shepherd showed workers of Kristjan Loftsson's company, Hvalur hf, posing with an unconfirmed species of whale that they killed.

One crew member can be seen posing for a photo while sitting on top of the whale.

"From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the coloration pattern - there is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea". "Photographs point to the fact that it's a hybrid whale and we're nearly certain that it is one, but we can't be sure until autumn when we get it DNA testetd", he says speaking to mbl.is. Hard to Port also agreed the whale could be a hybrid, according to ABC News.

Although an worldwide moratorium has placed catch limits at zero for blue whales, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation all objected to that provision. Iceland allows hunting of smaller fin whales, despite an worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling established by the global Whaling Commission.

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Most of the fin whales killed are exported as meat to Japan.

But this latest incident should be a wakeup call to the people of Iceland, Humane Society International's Head of Campaigns Australia Nicola Beynon said. "When you approach a blue whale, it's so distinct that you leave it alone".

The Icelandic government is investigating the incident and in a statement provided to The Daily Telegraph said it can not yet say what the animal is. "The cruel and inhumane practice of commercial whaling does not belong in the 21st century, it's time to give it up".

Conservation groups have accused Icelandic whalers this week of killing a rare and protected blue whale. "To mistake a blue whale for a fin whale is impossible, this whale has all the characterizations of a fin whale in the ocean".

Hvalur hf has been contacted for comment.

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