A 36ft long humpback whale found dead in the Thames Estuary this morning is being examined after being brought to shore.
The mammal was found by a passing tugboat off the Isle of Sheppey in Kent at 7.30am this morning, prompting Coastguard officials to issue a navigation warning to vessels in the area to be aware of the huge floating carcass.
The whale was towed to Sheerness Docks, and experts from the Zoological Society of London and the Natural History Museum will now carry out a post-mortem.
Emma Webb, of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said it’s not unusual to see humpback whales in the North Sea at this time of year
“There is no obvious sign at this stage as to how it died, but it was quite young as it had not fully grown,” she said.
“Whales of this type can grow to around 18 metres (59ft) so this was quite a way under that figure… It was probably feeding in the North Sea and died and perhaps floated down here on the tide, and been picked up and brought into Sheerness Docks.”
In 2006, a stranded northern bottlenose whale delighted crowds after making its way up the Thames to central London.
But tragedy struck when the 19ft creature died from dehydration, muscle damage and failing kidneys after being unable to feed for three days.