A humpback whale dubbed “Hessy” has been noticed within the Thames, prompting marine rescue divers put onto standby to forestall a repeat of previous tragedies.
The mammal, considered about 20ft, was final night time [Monday] wallowing close to the Dartford crossing east of London, having swum backwards and forwards up and down the river for miles since Sunday.
The sightings, which sparked a warning for ships to decelerate, come a 12 months after a Beluga whale nicknamed Benny spent three months in the identical a part of the Thames, attracting massive crowds.
The animal finally discovered its manner out to sea.
Nonetheless, the final humpback to enterprise into the Thames, in 2009, died of hunger after getting stranded.
Specialists consider the brand new humpback to be in good well being and its presence indicative of accelerating numbers over the previous decade, a legacy of a world ban on the species because the 1980s.
The whale was first noticed off Gravesend on Sunday.
It has since headed upstream, beneath the Dartford crossing, in direction of Erith, earlier than turning round and swimming to Greenhithe.
The sightings shocked river customers.
One, a constable with the Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit, noticed the creature throughout a nighttime patrol, tweeting: “It was spectacular! Was gobsmacked it was so big.”
Another, @girlaboutthames, was considered one of a number of to undertake the nickname Hessy for the animal after seeing it close to Ford’s Dagenham plant on Monday morning.
“Unfortunately it’s headed further in,” she tweeted.”
British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a specialist charity devoted to releasing stranded and endangered marine animals, are carefully monitoring the whale.
“We watched it move down the river, the intervals between it surfacing are perfectly normal — it was about five or six minutes which is fine, it’s what they do,” stated Julia Cable, from the group.
“It appears to be shifting alongside fairly fortunately.
“It’s very likely that it just made a navigational error.”
Richard Sabin, principal mammal curator on the Pure Historical past Museum, stated the humpback might survive off herring and krill whereas within the Thames.
“I don’t think we need to be concerned at the moment,” he stated.
“There are no signs of injury – it’s swimming and diving.”
In 2006 a juvenile feminine northern bottlenose whale turned a trigger celebre after if was found far into London close to Battersea Bridge.
The choice was taken to rescue the animal as she was thought of too weak to swim out of the Thames by herself, nevertheless she died of convulsions after the try.
The 2009 incident was the primary time a humpback whale was noticed within the river.
Mr Sabin stated will increase within the inhabitants of the species across the British Isles was a “great success story”.