A massive blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, washed up on a beach in southern Chile, most likely after dying at sea.
Residents of Ancud, on Chiloe island, discovered the massive marine mammal Saturday on a Pacific ocean beach 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Santiago.
Agents of the Chilean national fishing agency Sernapesca, sent to investigate, confirmed the carcass was that of “a large cetacean of the family of Balaenopteridae,” they posted on the X platform formerly known as Twitter.
“We helped identify the specimen and, based on preliminary evidence, it is a blue whale,” the agency added.
Sernapesca’s regional director Cristian Hudson told local media that “given its condition, the whale must have died at sea some time ago and drifted in that state.”
Environmental groups noted that the area’s waters are heavily used by the fishing industry and maritime traffic, and they called for an investigation to determine whether the creature was the victim of a collision.
According to the non-governmental Cetacean Conservation Center (CCC) of Chile, the family of Balaenopteridae, or rorquals, includes a variety of species, ranging from the nine-meter (30-foot) minke whale to the blue whale — which at up to 30 meters is considered the largest animal on Earth.