A carcass of a beached fin whale was found Monday morning in a military exclusion zone in southern Israel.
A local fisherman spotted the floating carcass before it reached shore and notified authorities.
The Nature and Parks Authority's maritime unit, aided by a control team from a Navy base near Ashdod, monitored the progress of the stranded marine mammal to ensure it enters Israel's territorial waters for testing and research purposes.
The whale was eventually washed up in an off-limit military zone. Samples are to be taken from the remains to decide on a further course of action.
This is the second documented instance of a dead fin whale washing up on Israeli shores. The carcass of a 10-meter-long (33 feet) whale calf was found on the beach of the Holot Nitzanim Reserve south of Tel Aviv in February 2021.
By chance, the calf's remains were planned to be dug up on Monday to be displayed at the Jerusalem Aquarium.
The fin whale is the second largest animal in the world after the blue whale. Fin whales are common in the western Mediterranean but are rarely spotted near its eastern shoreline.
Male fin whales average 19-25 meters in length, with females reaching 20-27 meters. According to estimations, a full-grown 25-meter-long adult fin whale would weigh approximately 70 metric tons.
Fin whales were seen passing near the shores of Israel in 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2018, all near beaches in central Israel.
In 2010, researchers from the Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center documented a 12-15-meter-long gray whale for the first time near Herzliya. It was believed that the whale, which is commonly found in the Pacific Ocean, had lost its way during migration.