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A whale stuck in the River Thames again Posted On 14 May 2021

For the second time, a whale, this time a minke whale, has been caught stranded in the Thames, with rescue teams trying to save it

 

The minke whale, four metres long, was first seen at lunchtime Sunday close to Barnes Bridge, as hundreds of people gathered on the riverbank, having become stuck on the boat rollers at Richmond Lock and Weir. The whale was subsequently rescued in the middle of the night, after being constantly hosed down while a vet carried out checks at the river’s edge. The whale had been thrashing around in between periods of apparent lifelessness.

However, though the whale was apparently on its way back home, it escaped the loving clutches of the inflatable cushion which was initially guiding the whale to safety. Nine hours later, it was spotted again heading back to Richmond. So rescuers are back on it again, trying to help the whale find its way back to the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans where it belongs.

Jake Manketo, 20, from Richmond, said: “We couldn’t believe our eyes when we first saw the poor fella — it’s not every day something like this happens in Richmond.”

London Fire Brigade’s Glen Nicolaides has said that their initial efforts to move the whale to safety would be followed by an investigation of its injuries, but they were unable to do this. Conservation experts claim no whale has ever been further upstream than this one in the Thames before.

A spokesman for the Port of London Authority said the whale’s life still “hangs in the balance” as it is so far from its natural habitat. He told MyLondon: “To a certain extent all we can do now is let nature take its course. The whale is in quite a predicament, so we’ll have to see. Its injuries aren’t massive or obvious but it is compromised in the sense of minor cuts and things. In a more general sense it’s in a stressed and weakened situation and isn’t where it should be.” Whales regularly get lost in the Thames, although it is rare for them to be seen so far from the estuary.

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