How a sperm whale washed up on the banks of Madrid’s Rio

Madrileños crossing the Puente de Segovia on Friday morning might well have blinked their bleary eyes when faced with the extraordinary sight of a beached sperm whale grounded on the banks of the River Manzanares.

How a sperm whale washed up on the banks of Madrid’s Rio

The Madrid Rio area south of the city has, any new Madrid resident knows, undergone an impressive transformation in the last decade, developing from little more than a rubbish-clogged ditch to a haven for river wildlife from water voles to kingfishers…and surprisingly large carp.

But a whale?

Madrid’s City Hall have so far remained mysterious about the enormous cetacean, except to tantalisingly promise more information soon in a tweet.

They posted photographs of “marine biologists” examining the carcass.

But of course, it's not a real whale: it's a replica designed with the objective of raising awareness about climate change and the global threat to whales and dolphins.

READ ALSO: Clean seas campaign launched on Spanish coast after sperm whale washes up full of plastic

The life-size, hyperreal statue of a sperm whale is the work of the Captain Boomer Collective,  an artistic group that has been doing the stunt since 2013, when the first whale appeared on the banks of the Thames in London.

Last year, the replica beast from the deep appeared on the banks of the Seine in Paris.

“It’s an artistic way of making people aware of the environment,” Bert Van Peel, the founder of Captain Boomer told Le Figaro at the time.

“These hyperrealist sculptures are an immense metaphor for the dysfunction of our ecological system.”

VIDEO: Drone captures incredible footage of whales off Barcelona 


Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.