Vandals have graffitied the body of a blue whale that washed up on a beach in southern Chile. The words "Ana Ti Amo" (I love you Ana) were scratched onto the whale's skin, and photos shared widely on Twitter also show a couple posing for a photo while sitting on the whale's head.
The dead whale – over 66 feet in length – has since been removed by the Chilean authorities. Initial reports suggest it could have died from an illness, as its body showed no signs of obvious physical injury. Marine life specialists are currently conducting an investigation into the cause of death.
The photos have sparked alarm and upset across social media, with users describing it as "disgusting" and "so stupid". One user, Xieman Hernandez, wrote: "So stupid, every day we get worse. How would the people who did this like to have their dead bodies written on? They do not respect anything!"
The blue whale is the largest animal ever known to have existed. There are only 10 to 25,000 of them remaining in the world.