It’s a whale seldom seen in British territory — in fact, it's making its second appearance in the country’s waters.
A 23-foot-long bowhead whale was spotted Sunday off the Cornwall coast, particularly in the shallow section of Long Rock Beach. The rarely filmed creature appears for the first time after 15 months, when it was seen off the Isles of Scilly.
According to Sea Watch Foundation, both sightings seemed to be of juveniles and of the same animal at different times.
"We are not sure if it's part of a trend, but it's amazing to see an animal like that in our waters," said British Divers Marine Life Rescue Coordinator Dan Jarvis in a BBC report, estimating only about 10,000 of these whales in the wild.
There were earlier fears of the sea mammal being stranded at the beach near Penzance, but it turned out that the adventurous one was able to turn around and make its way back out to sea.
Marine Discovery’s Hannah Jones echoed that the bowhead whale, typically only seen in the high Arctic, is so rare that this sighting is merely second ever to be officially recorded in European waters.
Penzance-based Marine Discovery — getting a call from Jarvis to ask for their assessment of the whale — initially thought it was a humpback whale until its office took another look at the images.
“This one was much more obvious than the Scilly whale was, with its highly prominent ‘hump’ around the blowholes, strongly arched jawline, and lack of any dorsal fin,” explained MD on Facebook, calling it a “privilege” to see the incredible whale species.
Bowhead whales, known scientifically as Balaena mysticetus, can grow up to 65 feet and are typically seen 2,000 miles further north, marine conservationists said. They are also known by such names as Greenland right whale and Arctic whale.
Second to the great blue whale in size, a bowhead whale may survive for over a century or even up to 200 years.
A team of scientists from the University of Liverpool last year concluded that bowhead whales could hold secrets in their genome that could lead to a notably longer lifespan for humans.