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Whale spotted in the River Thames

Whale spotted in the River Thames

Postby tori baker » 1/20/06

Whale swims through London in River Thames – a first since 1913
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/worl ... whale.html

Image

LONDON – It's a whale of a tale – a bottle-nosed whale swimming up the River Thames past Big Ben and Parliament on Friday as rows of worried Londoners looked on.

The whale was spotted in the afternoon as it flailed around in the murky waters of the Thames, stirring up patches of what looked like blood as seagulls hovered above and rescue boats stood at the ready. It was the first sighting of a Northern bottle-nosed whale in the river since 1913.

Witness Tom Howard-Vyne said he saw the mammal swim under Westminster Bridge, near Big Ben. "I saw it blow. It was a spout of water which sparkled in the air," said Howard-Vyne. "It was an amazing sight."

Other witnesses reported seeing a second whale in another part of the river Friday, and marine experts spotted two disoriented whales off northeastern Scotland last week, suggesting something was causing bottle-nosed whales to become confused.

"It is a race against time to save the animal," said Alison Shaw, marine and freshwater conservation program manager at the Zoological Society of London.

A small armada of boats was planning to help the whale late Friday at high tide. One of the boats was equipped with a cradle in case the whale again beached itself. It had already beached itself at least twice Friday, and it was unclear how long it could survive in the river.

Witnesses reported seeing injuries to the whale – which was an estimated 17 feet long – and said its snout was bloodied. Photos also appeared to show damage to one of the whale's eyes and a number of cuts to its torso.

Several onlookers jumped into the 48-degree water, splashing to try to coax the mammal away from shore. Members of the Whale Watch conservation group also ferried across the river to assess its condition.

Bottle-nosed whales normally live in the northern Atlantic, diving deeply and traveling in pods. They can reach 26 feet long – the size of a red double-decker London bus.

When sick, old or injured, whales often get disoriented and swim away from their pod, said Mark Simmonds, science director at Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

Last week, marine officials said they saw two bottle-nosed whales off northeastern Scotland when the mammals are normally seen off northwestern Scotland. That, coupled with the sighting Friday of a second whale in a different part of the Thames, could suggest that something is disrupting the whales, said Laila Sadler, scientific officer at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

There are many possible reasons whales become disoriented. Scientists have said fluctuating ocean temperatures, predators, lack of food and even sonar from ships can send them into waters that threaten their survival.

Friday's sighting drew hundreds of people and scores of television crews to the river's banks. Television screens carried pictures of the whale for most of the day, captivating Londoners who called radio and television stations asking if they could help.

It was the first time a Northern bottle-nosed whale has been seen in the Thames since the Natural History Museum began recording such sightings in 1913, museum zoologist Richard Sabin said.

He said bottle-nosed whales rarely swim in water as shallow as the Thames, which has an average depth of between 20 and 26 feet.

A minke whale was sighted in the Thames about six years ago, but not as far upstream.

"I am very concerned for the safety of this animal at the moment, particularly if boat traffic increases in the river," said Laila Sadler, scientific officer at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

See also: http://thestar.com.my/ and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4632696.stm and http://www.nytimes.com/
tori baker
 

Postby David » 1/20/06

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in race to save London’s whale

ZSL has dispatched its marine mammal veterinary pathologist, Paul Jepson, to the banks of the Thames to assist with the rescue of this special animal spotted just this morning in river.

Read on >> http://www.zsl.org/whipsnade/news/zsl-i ... 30,NS.html
David Campbell
MarineBio Founder/Director
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~~~ Join the MarineBio Conservation Society and help us continue to share the wonders of
the ocean inspiring conservation, education, research, and a sea ethic. ~~~


Extending a sea ethic would mean recognizing the ocean’s importance to the continued existence of life on our planet and to human futures. From this recognition would flow an appropriate sense of moral imperative, commitment, and urgency—urgency toward ending overfishing and wasteful bycatch and aggressively rebuilding depleted ocean wildlife populations, stabilizing human effects on world climate, slowing habitat destruction, stemming global transport and accidental introduction of "alien" species, curbing the flow of contaminants and trash, developing sustainable seafood farming, cultivating an informed approach to the seafood marketplace, and implementing networks of protected areas in the sea. - Dr. Carl Safina

If you think you can, you might, if you think you can't, you never will. - Anon
Don't believe everything you think. - Anon
It's nice to be important. But it's much more important to be nice. - The Nature of Existence
Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. - Steve Martin
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Postby David » 1/21/06

Rescuers try to save whale stranded in River Thames

LONDON (AP) — Veterinarians and rescuers waded into the River Thames on Saturday after a lost and distressed whale tried to beach itself, taking medical tests and attaching an inflatable pontoon to the 17-foot-long animal as Londoners jammed the riverbanks to watch the drama.

Read on >> http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006 ... hale_x.htm
David Campbell
MarineBio Founder/Director
>-<ºº>-<
~~~ Join the MarineBio Conservation Society and help us continue to share the wonders of
the ocean inspiring conservation, education, research, and a sea ethic. ~~~


Extending a sea ethic would mean recognizing the ocean’s importance to the continued existence of life on our planet and to human futures. From this recognition would flow an appropriate sense of moral imperative, commitment, and urgency—urgency toward ending overfishing and wasteful bycatch and aggressively rebuilding depleted ocean wildlife populations, stabilizing human effects on world climate, slowing habitat destruction, stemming global transport and accidental introduction of "alien" species, curbing the flow of contaminants and trash, developing sustainable seafood farming, cultivating an informed approach to the seafood marketplace, and implementing networks of protected areas in the sea. - Dr. Carl Safina

If you think you can, you might, if you think you can't, you never will. - Anon
Don't believe everything you think. - Anon
It's nice to be important. But it's much more important to be nice. - The Nature of Existence
Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. - Steve Martin
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Postby David » 1/22/06

London rescue effort fails when whale dies

By Tom Hundley
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published January 22, 2006


LONDON -- A desperate rescue effort ended in disappointment Saturday when a whale that swam up the River Thames into the heart of London died before it could be returned to open waters.

The northern bottlenose whale, 18 feet long and weighing about 4 tons, captivated the imagination of Londoners and much of the world's media Friday when it sailed past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

It was clear the creature was disoriented and perhaps ill. Rescuers tried to turn it downstream, but the whale seemed uninterested.

On Saturday morning, a decision was made to hoist the whale onto a barge and take it out to open water--a calculated risk because the weight of the mammal out of water tends to stress its internal organs. Thousands gathered on the riverbank to watch as the whale was winched aboard a barge. They cheered the rescuers, but many sensed that the whale's chances were not good.

"Yesterday, it was a carnival mood, but today it was a bit sad. It felt like a funeral on the river," said Silvia Mazzola, who watched from the Albert Bridge.

The plan was to release the whale into the open waters of the English Channel, about 40 miles downstream, but this turned into an unsuccessful race against time for the slow-moving barge. About 7 p.m.--still two hours away from open sea--the whale suffered convulsions and died.

"There was always the risk this would happen," Leila Sadler of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told The Associated Press.

"It was already dehydrated, hadn't been feeding, and being out of water would have, in effect, shriveled the animal's internal organs," she said.

SOURCE: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
David Campbell
MarineBio Founder/Director
>-<ºº>-<
~~~ Join the MarineBio Conservation Society and help us continue to share the wonders of
the ocean inspiring conservation, education, research, and a sea ethic. ~~~


Extending a sea ethic would mean recognizing the ocean’s importance to the continued existence of life on our planet and to human futures. From this recognition would flow an appropriate sense of moral imperative, commitment, and urgency—urgency toward ending overfishing and wasteful bycatch and aggressively rebuilding depleted ocean wildlife populations, stabilizing human effects on world climate, slowing habitat destruction, stemming global transport and accidental introduction of "alien" species, curbing the flow of contaminants and trash, developing sustainable seafood farming, cultivating an informed approach to the seafood marketplace, and implementing networks of protected areas in the sea. - Dr. Carl Safina

If you think you can, you might, if you think you can't, you never will. - Anon
Don't believe everything you think. - Anon
It's nice to be important. But it's much more important to be nice. - The Nature of Existence
Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. - Steve Martin
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Global reaction: World wallows in giant’s plight

Postby David » 1/23/06

The Sunday Times - Britain
January 22, 2006
Daniel Foggo


Global reaction: World wallows in giant’s plight

THE plight of the stranded whale was flashed around the world yesterday as millions took a keen interest in the desperate attempt to rescue it. The incongruity of a behemoth cruising through the heart of a great city gripped television viewers and stretched newspaper headline writers to the limit.

“Whale of a good show in London”, reported the Los Angeles Times. “New Prince of Whales — thar she blows!” countered the New York Post. Even The New York Times soberly offered: “Mysterious visitor creates new ripples on Thames”.

Unable to resist impressing New Yorkers with its ability to put the whale incident into the context of London’s 2,000 years of colourful history, The New York Times went on: “Of course, London’s great stream is no stranger to the bizarre and fascinating. There have been bodies hung from bridges, seals and porpoises in the water and even a piranha that fell from the sky when a seagull dropped it onto a boat.”

La Vanguardia, the Spanish daily, ran the headline “A whale visits Big Ben” next to a large picture of the animal’s fin cruising past parliament. Other Spanish newspapers used the photograph with similar prominence.

In France a television announcer conceded, with more than a tinge of envy in his voice, that such an impressive marine mammal had never, sadly, been sighted in the Seine.

In Australia, Victoria’s Sunday Herald Sun warned “Whale of a time may end in tears”, presciently foreshadowing yesterday’s unsuccessful rescue.

Susan Blackmore, an expert in the psychology of ideas, explained why the London whale had become an international phenomenon. “There is a very deep affinity between humans and whales because they are one of the very few animals that can imitate,” she said. “They copy each other, which results in the amazing songs they sing underwater, but that ability is very rare in the animal world and we are drawn to it.”

Naomi Rose, who tried to rehabilitate Keiko, a captive killer whale that starred in the Free Willy films, said whales hold an enduring fascination because they are “intelligent and social yet inhabit a world where we are utterly out of our element”.

Among the whaling nations coverage of the London visitor was conspicuous by its absence. The animal’s struggle to regain the safety of open water left Japan and Norway cold.

Kyodo, Japan’s domestic news service, failed to give the whale’s exertions even a mention. In Norway, where whales are also regarded foremost as a source of income, there was no interest in the British obsession with rescuing the lost mammal.

Instead the Aftensposten newspaper concentrated on the travails of Rune Gjeldnes, the Antarctic explorer, who yesterday found that he had lost one of his skis.

SOURCE: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 64,00.html
David Campbell
MarineBio Founder/Director
>-<ºº>-<
~~~ Join the MarineBio Conservation Society and help us continue to share the wonders of
the ocean inspiring conservation, education, research, and a sea ethic. ~~~


Extending a sea ethic would mean recognizing the ocean’s importance to the continued existence of life on our planet and to human futures. From this recognition would flow an appropriate sense of moral imperative, commitment, and urgency—urgency toward ending overfishing and wasteful bycatch and aggressively rebuilding depleted ocean wildlife populations, stabilizing human effects on world climate, slowing habitat destruction, stemming global transport and accidental introduction of "alien" species, curbing the flow of contaminants and trash, developing sustainable seafood farming, cultivating an informed approach to the seafood marketplace, and implementing networks of protected areas in the sea. - Dr. Carl Safina

If you think you can, you might, if you think you can't, you never will. - Anon
Don't believe everything you think. - Anon
It's nice to be important. But it's much more important to be nice. - The Nature of Existence
Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. - Steve Martin
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Postby marteee » 1/26/06

Such a shame that a story which made International headlines, had such a sad ending... Still, it did bring much needed attention to the plight of one our Planet's most wondrous beasts.

An unashamed plug, if I may... I've pointed them out before but the attempted rescue was organised by British Divers Marine Life Rescue. You can read their own report on the site and see some of the other brilliant things they do - an incredibly dedicated bunch of guys (and gals).
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
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Postby GreatWhite36 » 1/26/06

Too bad for the poor whale :( .. rescue attempts couldve definetly been better handeled though.. sounds like they botched the job a little :-\
GreatWhite36
 

Postby tori baker » 1/28/06

ya i agree there attempts to save the poor whale were rubbish they sure culd have done betta! were r u from
tori baker
 

Postby GreatWhite36 » 1/28/06

connecticut, united states, yourself?
GreatWhite36
 

Postby tori baker » 1/31/06

im from england
tori baker
 

Details of Northern Bottlenose Whale in River Thames

Postby David » 2/15/06

Details of Northern Bottlenose Whale in River Thames

European Cetacean Society - general discussion list [ECS-TALK@JISCMAIL.AC.UK]

A number of ECS members have expressed interest in having more details about the Northern Bottlenose Whale that swam up the River Thames recently. So here is a summary of events:

Just after midday on Thursday 19th January, the Port of London Authority telephoned me to report a whale swimming in the Thames Estuary on the south side of the Thames Barrier near Ford's Jetty, Dagenham, Kent. The observer, Martin Pattison, described it as about 20 feet long, dark grey, with a rounded dorsal fin slightly forward of the centre of the back, and surfacing slowly before diving. On the basis of the length estimate, I suggested four options: minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, long-finned pilot whale, and killer whale (but I felt the last was unlikely from the description). The description of the position and shape of the fin actually fitted pilot whale closest (a cautionary point that observers don't always describe accurately what they see!). However, I sent an identification guide to the observer to help confirm him species identity, and gave the Port Authority the telephone number for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) so they could keep an eye on the whale. We had no more sightings of the whale reported to us that day (but later gathered it was seen by others at Greenwich Ferry terminal around 4.30 pm, whilst Liz Sandeman of Marine Connection heard of a sighting of two animals in the Estuary on the Wednesday).

Early on Friday, the whale was sighted well up the river Thames first at Greenwich (around 4.30 am) and then near Westminster (9.30 am) in Central London. It quickly attracted crowds of people including the media, and Sky News started televising it on a continuous basis. By this time, all UK environmental groups with an interest in marine mammals were being bombarded by the media with questions about the identity of the whale, and what it was doing there. Viewing it on Sky News swimming up the Thames confirmed identification as northern bottlenose whale. The next question to answer was what was it doing there. Either it was in ill health or it simply had become lost in the shallow reaches of the southernmost North Sea, given that its usual habitat are offshore canyons of more than one thousand metres depth such as found northwest of the Shetland Islands, west of the Outer Hebrides, or to the south in the Bay of Biscay. A report of another northern bottlenose whale from near Southend-On-Sea, Essex was conveyed to us, and together with two whales thought to be of this species seen from Aberdeen on Tuesday 17th January, suggested that this Thames whale may have been part of a larger group. Speculating further, the presence around this time in coastal waters of the North Sea of other squid feeding cetaceans (Risso's dolphin, striped dolphin and long-finned pilot whale - and more recently, two sperm whales of c. 9 m length which live stranded at Spurn Point, Humberside, and Skegness, Lincs on 5th and 15th Feb respectively) indicated that maybe there were unusual quantities of squid temporarily in the region that may have encouraged the species to enter the North Sea.

Whatever the cause for its presence in Central London, the whale was unlikely to survive there for long in the shallows of the river, nor be readily able to find its way out of this narrow busy waterway, and so a rapid rescue was recommended, preferably to the nearest open water rather than returned to the southernmost North Sea. The whale in fact temporarily stranded a few times before the tide started to rise, allowing it at least to move eastwards a bit towards the end of the day. Nevertheless, it was still high up the Thames in the vicinity of Westminster Bridge.

By Saturday morning, news of the whale seemed to grip the nation and beyond, with TV, radio and newspapers reporting it from the United States and Canada to Australia and New Zealand. At lunchtime, the whale remained far upriver between Albert Bridge and Battersea Bridge. So early in the afternoon, BDMLR with help from Zoological Society of London (ZSL) vets, and others, successfully lifted the whale out of the river and onto a barge where it was transported back out to the Thames Estuary. However, sadly, around 7 pm that evening, the whale started convulsing and died. The results of a blood sample taken shortly after the whale was lifted onto the large barge showed that the whale was already suffering severe dehydration and kidney failure as well as some mild muscle damage.

Over the coming days, a team of ZSL vets and scientists led by Dr. Paul Jepson conducted a post mortem of the whale assisted by Professor Antonio Fernández and Dr. Manolo Arbelo (University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria). The whale was an immature female of 5.85 metres length. Her stomach contained a n umber of squid beaks but she clearly had not fed for some time. The postmortem examination showed no preliminary signs of acoustic trauma or gas emboli (which have been known to cause strandings of beaked whales in the past).

Our general conclusion is that it may have entered the North Sea with others, following squid, and then lost its way, ending up in the southernmost North Sea where it was unable to find its way back into the Atlantic and instead travelled west up the river Thames. The lack of squid (which are an important source of water) over a period of time may have contributed to the whale's dehydration, and its extended period in very shallow water probably was the cause of its relatively mild muscle damage.

To our knowledge, no other northern bottlenose whale has been recorded this far up the river Thames. However, there have been a number of other records from the Thames Estuary. These include: a female caught off the Essex coast on 23 Sept 1717; one of 6.4 m length captured in the Thames in 1783; one stranded in 1817 on the Essex coast; two males seen in 1891 off the Essex coast (one of these stranded at the end of July, and the other was caught on 3rd August; the latter measured 7.6 m). The stranding occurred in the Thames near Nore Lightship, and was eventually towed into Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. The latter was caught near Creeksmouth, Barking, Essex. More recently, on 9 Oct 1916, one (5.5 m length) stranded at Mucking, Essex. A London record (near Albert Dock, Woolwich Arsenal) from November 1899 reported in some of the national newspapers as the last report of northern bottlenose whale in the Thames, was actually a fin whale.

Peter GH Evans
--

Dr Peter G.H. Evans
Sea Watch Foundation
11 Jersey Road
Oxford 0X4 4RT, UK

Tel: 44-(0)1865-717276
mobile: 0776-556-6102
E-mail: <peter.evans@zoo.ox.ac.uk>
David Campbell
MarineBio Founder/Director
>-<ºº>-<
~~~ Join the MarineBio Conservation Society and help us continue to share the wonders of
the ocean inspiring conservation, education, research, and a sea ethic. ~~~


Extending a sea ethic would mean recognizing the ocean’s importance to the continued existence of life on our planet and to human futures. From this recognition would flow an appropriate sense of moral imperative, commitment, and urgency—urgency toward ending overfishing and wasteful bycatch and aggressively rebuilding depleted ocean wildlife populations, stabilizing human effects on world climate, slowing habitat destruction, stemming global transport and accidental introduction of "alien" species, curbing the flow of contaminants and trash, developing sustainable seafood farming, cultivating an informed approach to the seafood marketplace, and implementing networks of protected areas in the sea. - Dr. Carl Safina

If you think you can, you might, if you think you can't, you never will. - Anon
Don't believe everything you think. - Anon
It's nice to be important. But it's much more important to be nice. - The Nature of Existence
Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. - Steve Martin
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