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17-meter young whale found dead on beach in south Israel amid possible tar spill

As other creatures also wash up, Parks Authority chief calls for Environmental Protection Ministry investigation into those responsible for the pollution

Danny Morick, marine veterinarian, takes samples from a 17 meters (about 55 feet) long dead fin whale washed up on a beach in Nitzanim Reserve, Israel, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Aviad Scheinin of the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station said samples from the animal will be taken to try to determine a cause of death, officials said the water nearby is polluted, including with tar. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Danny Morick, marine veterinarian, takes samples from a 17 meters (about 55 feet) long dead fin whale washed up on a beach in Nitzanim Reserve, Israel, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Aviad Scheinin of the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station said samples from the animal will be taken to try to determine a cause of death, officials said the water nearby is polluted, including with tar. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A large young whale washed up Thursday on a beach in southern Israel, along with other sea creatures.

The fin whale, measuring some 17 meters (some 55 feet), was found at the Nitzanim reserve.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority said the whale was young, noting mature fin whales in the Mediterranean can grow to 20 meters.

The Parks Authority said it wasn’t clear what caused the death of the whale and other creatures, but director Shaul Goldstein cited a possible tar spill from a ship.

Danny Morick, marine veterinarian, and Aviad Scheinin take samples from a 17 meters (about 55 feet) long dead fin whale washed up on a beach in Nitzanim Reserve, Israel, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

He also urged the Environmental Protection Ministry to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the pollution.

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel described the photos of the dead animals as “heartbreaking.” She also said authorities were working to determine the source of the pollution and find those responsible, and that her ministry would meet Thursday evening for talks on the matter.

The ministry said the tar contamination appeared to be from oils that were emitted by a ship off the coast.

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