Sperm whale, Thames estuary, February 2019
A beleaguered sperm whale died three days after it swam up the Thames estuary and was unable to escape.
The desperate animal also ended up stranded at times, as the level of the tidal river shifted, before it was pronounced dead by rescuers on February 1 this year.
The whale, which is usually found in deep water, had appeared confused and had been regularly changing direction as it swam off the Swale in north Kent.
Its body was taken for examination by the Cetacean Stranding Investigation Program so they could try to establish why the ocean going animal had come into the Thames.
The sperm whale stuck off the Swale, north Kent, died after becoming stuck in the tidal river for three days. The animal also became stranded at times when the tidal river’s level dropped, said rescuers
The sperm whale marooned in the mudflats (pictured above). Its body was taken for examination to establish why it had stranded
Sperm Whale, Scotland, December 2019
A sperm whale died after it washed up in Scotland with a 220lb ball of fishing nets, plastic cups, plastic bags and other litter inside its stomach.
The 45-foot-long leviathan’s corpse, which was found on Seilebost beach on the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebridies, also contained rope, gloves, packing straps and tubing.
‘All this material was in a huge ball in the stomach and some of it looked like it had been there for some time,’ a spokesman from rescue group Scottish Marine Animals Stranding Scheme said.
However, it is thought the cause of death was the animal becoming disorientated during storms before becoming stranded. Sperm whales dive to great depths to eat squid and are known to accidentally eat plastic after mistaking it for their prey of choice.
The sperm whale died after becoming stranded on Seilebost beach, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebridies, Scotland, during a major storm
It had a 220lb ball of human waste in its stomach while included rope, gloves, packing straws, fishing nets, plastic cups and plastic bags
Fin whale and Humpback whale, Thames, October 2019
A fin whale and a humpback whale were found dead in the Thames estuary within ten days of each other in a ‘completely bizarre coincidence’.
The 27-foot-long baby humpback, nicknamed Hessy, was found floating in the Thames on October 10 after a ship-strike left her with catastrophic injuries to her jaw and head. A post-mortem of the carcass, which was pulled from the river at Gravesend, Kent, revealed the impact that is thought to have happened in open sea was the most likely cause of death.
Ten days later a fin whale was also found floating off the coast of Gravesend, Kent, which investigators said was in a ‘moderate nutritional condition’ and but had no evidence of ‘recent prey ingestion’.
A post-mortem found that the animal was suffering from parasite Bolbosoma turbinella and also had injuries to its body said to be consistent with a live stranding.
Hessy the humpback whale was found floating off the coast of Gravesend, Cornwall, in October 2019. The baby whale had been struck by a ship and left with severe injuries to her head and jaw
Ten days later a dead fin whale was also found floating off the coast of Gravesend, Cornwall. The animal had parasites living in its stomach and signs of previous strandings on its body
Fin whale, Cornwall, August 2012
A 65-foot-long female fin whale became beached at Carolyn Bay, Cornwall, in August 2012. When discovered, the seafaring animal was found to be ‘incredibly undernourished’ and suffering from a ‘very high breathing rate’.
Rescuers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said at the time there was no hope of refloating the animal and eventually decided to put it down for humane reasons.
‘(It is) very sick and distressed,’ they said at the time, ‘we are frustrated about it but we cannot help it’.
The whale, which was stranded on the outgoing tide, also had injuries to its head, gashes to its body and around one eye.
A fin whale also became beached at Carolyn Bay, Cornwall, in August 2012. The animal was also ‘incredibly malnourished’ and had wounds on its body. Rescuers said it was also sick and suffering from a very high breathing rate