Icelanders face criticism after killing a rare blue whale hybrid, only weeks after catching a pregnant female by mistake.
Last week, a marine conservation charity captured video footage showing a large whale being transported to a whaling station and carved by whalers.
The whaling company & # 39; Hvalur hf & # 39; has a license to kill a limited number of fin whales, which is the second largest animal on the planet after the blue whale and also an endangered species.
However, marine biologists have confirmed that the video shows a rare hybrid, a cross between a blue whale and a fin whale, of which only five have been recorded in the last 35 years.
The whalers at work: Icelandic workers carve out the thick skin of a rare blue whale-fin whale hybrid that died in Icelandic coastal waters last week
& # 39; Hvalur hf & # 39; has a license to kill 161 fin whales each year, and the whale seen in the video It was one of the two brought to the Miðsandur whaling station in Hvalfjörður last week – number 98 and 99 of this year's hunting season.
The video shows the hybrid whale, number 99, being expelled from the water and washed before the whalers work cutting the animal. The other whale they brought, a fin whale, was found to be pregnant.
Icelandic fin whaling has often been criticized, as it is believed that the species, although not at risk to the same extent as the blue whale, has a world population of between 50,000 and 90,000, according to the World Wildlife Foundation .
Blue whales were almost hunted to extinction in the last century and only 10,000 to 25,000 live. The species is now protected.
Hvalur hf, owned by billionaire Kristjan Loftsson, caused a stir in mid-July, when it was revealed that he had killed a pregnant hybrid of blue whale, reportedly by mistake.
The whale has been dragged to the carving pier, which is surrounded by whale bones and cut flesh of another whale
Preparatory work: the whalers are seen to measure the hybrid of dead blue whale fin whale before being divided
Butchery: whalers are seen carving on the fat of a thick whale and pulling its fin using a chain and a capstan
Shocking photographs showed that the mongrel whale was being massacred, and the whalers were dragging the bloody remains of the fetus along the promenade.
Both sets of images were captured by Sea Shepherd, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of marine fauna.
The charity told MailOnline that the DNA tests had been carried out by marine biologists working for the Icelandic government in the latest killing, number of whales 99, which had confirmed that it had in fact been a hybrid.
Sea Shepherd Chief Operating Officer Rob Read said: "More than 100 of the second largest animals that have existed on our planet have been cruelly harpooned, some harpooned more than once, and more than a dozen of them were pregnant. .
"It is incredible that the killing of any whale in danger of extinction, and much less of pregnant mothers, is allowed by Iceland, or tolerated by the international community.
"Our crew has had to endure the horrible visions and smells of the operations of this whaling company led by the Icelandic billionaire Kristján Loftsson since the season began in June.
"If the Icelandic government grants him a whaling permit next year, Sea Shepherd will be forced to escalate our campaign to end this madness."
Big company: Hvalur hf & # 39 ;, a company owned by one of the richest men in Iceland, has a license to kill 161 fin whales, like the one shown in the photo, in each hunting season ,
Brutal: this image shows the remains of a pregnant hybrid whale killed by the same company last month, with the whalers dragging the dead fetus
Loftsson later defended himself, saying that neither the hybrid nor the fin whale were protected species under Icelandic law.
Experts in marine conservation believe that bluefin whale hybrids are not very common in Icelandic waters, and are even rarer than blue whales.
Astrid Fuchs, of the charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: "Since 1983, only five of these rare hybrids have registered.
"Four of them have been killed by whalers and one is a beloved whale watching object and is still alive, they are very rare."
Experts in marine conservation believe that bluefin whale hybrids, such as this one caught last month, are not very common in Icelandic waters, and are even rarer than blue whales.
Also at risk: the fin whale, is the second largest animal on the planet after the blue whale and is also an endangered species, with about 50,000 – 90,000 animals left in the world according to the WWF.
The crew members took turns posing for the photo astride their backs, and three of them took a photo at this time.
Elisa Allen, director of the animal rights organization PETA, added: "Seeing these gentile giants shattered to satisfy human greed should make any decent person feel sick.
& # 39; Whales killed for their meat suffer greatly for many hours after being fired with rifles and explosive harpoons, before finally dying in agony.
"Anyone indignant with these photos should not only denounce whaling but also avoid the fishing industry, since countless whales, dolphins and other marine animals die each year as 'by-catch' when they get caught in the sea. fishing nets".