A second whale has been found dead in the Thames, just days after a humpback nicknamed Hessy died in the same stretch of water after being hit by a boat.
The discovery, described as a ‘complete bizarre coincidence’, comes ten days after Hessy, the 27-foot whale, was hit by a ship inflicting ‘catastrophic’ wounds before dying of starvation.
The Port of London confirmed the whale was found near Town Pier in Gravesend at 9am, before it was lifted out of the water, just a few miles from where Hessy was found dead in Greenhithe, Kent.
A spokesman said early indications suggested it was a 32-ft long fin whale, an endangered species.
However, the Port of London said there was no ‘obvious sign of death’ and the mammal will undergo a post-mortem by the Zoological Society this weekend.
Martin Garside, spokesman for the Port of London authority, said, “You couldn’t make it up. It’s in no way connected to Hessy the Humpback, it’s a complete bizarre coincidence”.
Mr Garside added, “It’s not fully grown but it doesn’t look to be a baby. It may be a fin whale. It’s definitely not a Humpback, but the species and gender are yet to be confirmed.”
He explained how they managed to put a line around it to secure the mammal and towed it to one of their facilities in the east of Gravesend.
“There had been no live sightings of this whale so the first time anyone was aware was when it was found dead – it may have been dead for some days,” he informed.
Large fin whales can grow to 68.9ft-long as an adult and are usually found off the Gulf of California, the Coral Triangle, and Arctic.Next to the blue whale, the fin whale is the second largest mammal in the world.The mammal have a distinct ridge along their back behind the dorsal fin, which gives it the nickname ‘razorback.’Their lower right jaw is bright white and the lower left jaw is black and it gets its name from an easy-to-spot fin on its back, near its tail.
The news just came ten days after a humpback whale died after swimming into the Thames. The 27ft-long juvenile female, Hessy, was spotted near Greenhithe sparking international attention.
But a post-mortem revealed she suffered catastrophic injuries to her jaw and a large wound to her head after a ship strike was the main cause of death.Rob Deaville, of the Zoological Society of London, said the strike is thought to have happened in open sea rather than in the river.
He added that the post-mortem revealed the animal had not eaten for some time and was ‘nutritionally compromised’, but no signs of any ingested plastics were found.
Experts say it is likely the juvenile whale made a navigational error and swam up river from the North Sea last week on a spring tide when the water level was at its highest.
Another humpback whale which entered the the river 10 years ago is known to have died of starvation.
Humpback whales are rarely stranded around the UK coast, with just one or two incidents recorded on average each year.
Yet it is the fifth humpback whale to be recorded stranded in the UK so far this year.Two others recorded in the Thames and wider Thames estuary region in 2009 and 2013 both died.