Photo Gallery More Photos of an Unusual Visitor

For weeks, a 40-foot-long (12 meter) humpback whale has been swimming off the Baltic coast. The unusual sighting -- the first in the Baltic in 30 years -- has whale watchers excited and scientists worried for the misguided whale's future.
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Too close for comfort: On Friday, a photographer snapped this shot of "Bucki" perilously close to the beach in the town of Timmendorfer Strand near the German port city of Lübeck.

Foto: DPA
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Ships and sailboats have been asked by the authorities to report any sightings of the humpback whale so that the Coast Guard, Greenpeace and waterways police can track the creature and help prevent it from getting stranded in shallow waters. Tourist boats have also agreed not to offer whale-watching tours, which would add further stress to "Bucki," who is reportedly suffering from undernourishment.

Foto: DDP
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Still here: Just days before international conservation experts announced humpback whales were making a comeback worldwide, one was spotted just off the coast of Germany.

Foto: Martin Grimm
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With few fish to eat, the Baltic is considered a poor whale destination. But whale watchers had initally said that he was managing to find quite a few to snack on. Now, however, there are worries that the whale is going hungry.

Foto: Martin Grimm
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If he stays too long -- or gets too stressed -- he might not be able to find his way back to the Atlantic.

Foto: Martin Grimm
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Using powerful lenses and spotting scopes, two bird-watchers captured images of the 40-foot behemoth last week.

Foto: Mathias Putze
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The whale has been cavorting in the busy shipping lanes of the Baltic, so far safely.

Foto: Mathias Putze
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Humpbacks are a favorite of whale watchers because of their above-water antics.

Foto: Mathias Putze
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The white underbelly ...

Foto: Mathias Putze
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... and long pectoral fins...

Foto: Mathias Putze
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... of a humpback whale haven't been seen in the Baltic since 1978.

Foto: Mathias Putze
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One thing's for certain: the whale has made a big splash this summer.

Foto: Mathias Putze
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This time-lapse photomontage by biologist Christoph Bock, who spotted the creature originally, shows the whale as he leapt out of the water over and over.

Foto: Christoph Bock