Big rescue operation in London: A small whale has tricked itself into an awkward position away from the sea. Despite several days of work, the animal could not be helped in the end.
The whale which appears in the London Thames has been neutralized by experts due to its poor health. “We can confirm that the mink whale was mutually mutilated at Tempington Lock,” wrote the aid organization British Divers Marine Life Rescue on its Facebook page on Monday evening. The four-meter-long whale had already appeared in a lock in the south-west of London over the weekend for unknown reasons.
Prior to euthanasia, the whale had silently watered at Teddington Lock in the Richmond district. From there it is in the open sea at a distance of about 50 kilometers. Firefighters and divers spent several hours to free the whale. Hundreds of spectators gathered at the scene to follow the action. Again and again rescuers had to ensure that the animals remained wet. However, the young whale was able to escape from the rescue team – he was back in Richmond on Monday afternoon and even a little ahead. The three to four meter long marine mammal was a mink whale.
Why the whale was lost is still being investigated
Mink whales are the smallest representative of the larger whale species. They reach a body length of ten meters and typically step into the North Atlantic and Pacific. Why the animal floated on the Thames until now was not initially clear. It may have followed fish from the North Sea into the river and was lost. A post-euthanasia examination should explain why the health status of the whale is deteriorating so fast.
The lock is at its lowest point in Richmond, where it can still be felt in the North Seas. To get there from the Thames estuary, the whale must also go through the city center, along with the parliament and the famous tower.
This is not the first time a whale has lost its way in the London Thames. The “River Thames Whale” known as Willie is a famous northern whale that was spotted in the river in January 2006, but could not be saved alive. In 2019, two dead whales were discovered in Thomas within a short time, but it was quite close to the estuary.