Humpback whale spotted swimming in Thames has died, charity says

Autopsy will be carried out later this week on creature nicknamed Hessy

Tuesday 08 October 2019 21:45
Humpback whale spotted swimming in Thames in London

A humpback whale which swam into the River Thames has died, according to a charity.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), which has been dedicated to the rescue and well-being of marine animals in distress around the UK for more than 30 years, said it has found the dead creature.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the organisation said: "Terribly sad news that soon after 5pm today the humpback whale which had not been seen in the Thames all day, was found dead around the Greenhithe area. Hopefully tomorrow a necropsy will be carried out to determine the cause of death."

The whale, nicknamed Hessy, was first spotted swimming along the Thames on Sunday.

BDMLR national co-ordinator Julia Cable said it is "very unusual" for a humpback whale to be seen within the Thames Estuary.

"It's very likely that it just made a navigational error," she added.

However, Ms Cable said there was no indication that the whale was in any distress.

The BDMLR added: "The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) will carry out a necropsy as soon as it's possible, they will then publish their findings."

In 2006, a northern bottlenose whale was spotted in the Thames in central London.

On that occasion the whale, which was too weak to find its way back out of the river on its own, died as rescuers attempted to transport it back to sea.

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In 2009 a humpback whale was found washed up on the shore of the Thames in Kent, having seemingly died from starvation.

A year ago a beluga whale, which was given the nickname Benny, was spotted swimming in the Thames near Gravesend.

It is thought to have made its own way back out to sea in the new year.

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