Rare Sowerby's whale seen only 13 times in UK since 2007 spotted in Cardigan Bay

Passengers on a dolphin-watching boat tour spotted the Sowerby's whale on Saturday. Credit: Brett Stone

A rare whale, which has only been seen 13 times in the UK since 2007, has been spotted off the west coast of Wales.

The Sowerby's whale was spotted by the passengers and crew of a dolphin-watching boat tour in Cardigan Bay on Saturday.

The whale was seen for a short period of time before it swam back into deeper water.

The oceanic species usually lives in waters more than 1,000 metres deep and can stay under water for up to two hours.

Sowerby's whales has previously been spotted in waters around Norway, Iceland, Canada and the US. Credit: Josh Pedley

The Sea Watch Foundation, which works to protect whales, dolphins, and other marine life, described it as a "very rare sighting" and said it will be observing the whale closely.

Claudia Afeltra, Communications and Outreach Officer, said: "While the sighting has not raised immediate concerns for the whale's well-being, as it appeared healthy and naturally retreated to deeper waters, we will closely monitor its movements."

Sowerby's whales are beaked whales that can grow up to seven metres long and weigh up to two tons.

They are predominantly found in the eastern North Atlantic, with sightings also confirmed in seas around Norway, Iceland, and in the western North Atlantic off the coast of Canada and Massachusetts.

The deep-diving creatures are listed as "vulnerable" and are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species. The main threats to their survival are entanglement in fishing gear and habitat loss.

The Sea Watch Foundation is urging the public to report any sightings of Sowerby's whales to them.

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