04 January, 2014

France: 'Whale' spotted on motorway

France: 'Whale' spotted on motorway

News from Elsewhere......as found by BBC Monitoring

Twitter user Guillaume Machu posted this picture captioned: "A whale stranded on a lorry"

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A giant sperm whale apparently strapped to the back of a lorry in Lorraine, eastern France, has bemused motorists and prompted Twitter users to solve the mystery, it seems.

Pictures of the 17m (55ft) sea creature being towed along the motorway appeared on the social network on New Year's Eve.

The Dutch lorry caused consternation among drivers and scepticism from social media users - especially after pictures of it parked at a service station emerged.

Twitter users claimed that moving whales on dry land is strictly regulated, and that the whale would be unlikely to survive such a journey, theRepublicain Lorrain newspaper reported.

As it transpired, the whale was actually a life-size fibreglass dummy built by a group of Belgian artists. One of the group, Bart Van Peel, told the paper that the model was on its way home to the Netherlands from an exhibition in Spain. It had been touring Europe as a way of raising awareness about the plight of sperm whales. "I'm sorry it surprised people on the road. Usually we completely cover it over," he said.

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