This footage taken off the Spanish coast shows a huge whale with a crooked body bent at about 70 degrees.
The 40-tonne rorqual – spotted two miles off the coast of the city of Cullera in the Valencia Region – is believed to suffer from scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine.
It was swimming poorly due to its condition.
The captain of a boat reported the find to the Civil Guard on 4th March, believing the whale was entangled in a net.
Veterinarians and biologists from the Oceanografic de Valencia – Europe’s largest aquarium – approached the 17-metre- (56-foot) long rorqual on a patrol boat belonging to the Civil Guard.
They realised the whale was not entangled but had a spine problem of unknown origin.
The Oceanografic Foundation said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “The dimensions of the rorqual and the work in open sea, combined with the malformation it was suffering from, prevented veterinarians from remotely attaching a tracker to obtain more detailed data on its condition, biology, and trajectory.
“A few hours later, the rorqual headed out to open sea and moved away from the coast. However, professionals warn that it may appear again in the coming days due to its general condition and swimming difficulties.
“Therefore, different recovery centres and institutions involved in these operations have been alerted and co-ordinated in case it reappears.”
The common rorqual (Balaenoptera physalus) is the second-longest whale on the planet, after the blue whale, and is often spotted in the waters of the western Mediterranean during the summer months.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorises it as a vulnerable species.