Young whale stuck in London’s Richmond Lock Bridge put down

Young whale stuck in London’s Richmond Lock Bridge put down.

A three-to-four meter juvenile minke whale got stranded in London’s River Thames has been out down after its condition worsened and vets concluded that it would not survive the open water. 

The whale measured 10 to 13 feet (4 meters) and was first spotted in the southwest of London. The creature washed ashore from a set of gates controlling the water. A spokesperson from the Port of London Authority told CNN that the whale was spotted around 7p.m close to the Richmond Lock.

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British Divers Marine Life Rescue service and firefighters unsuccessfully carried out rescue efforts when the creature slipped from its leash and swam upriver rather than towards the sea. In a statement released by the body, they revealed that they used “inflatable pontoons” that prevented the animal from slipping back into the river, giving the vet team from the Zoological Society of London time to assess the whale and “end its suffering.”

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Julia Cable, BDMLR’s national coordinator described the last 45 minutes of the whale’s life as  “deteriorating” and “breathing wasn’t right.” She further narrated how vets drawn from the London zoo administered a powerful anesthetic dose into the animal.  

It is likely that the creature got separated from its mother and found it difficult to fend for itself. In addition, the unfamiliar environment must have taken a huge toll on its overall health prompting veterinary experts to “humanely put to sleep" the creature. 

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Of all the great whales, the Minke family are the smallest and grow up to 10 meters when they reach adulthood. They are usually found in the pacific oceans and the northern Atlantic. However, occasional sightings in the Arctic and South of the equator have been recorded. 

In 2006, a similar incident where a northern bottlenose whale got stuck in the Thames created an international incident eliciting a huge media reaction. The creature passed away as it was being moved out to sea. In 2018 a Beluga whale was spotted in the river.

Minke whales grow to an impressive 20,000 pounds with a life span of 50 years, as per the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The organization tends to whales at the Thames at least once a year. What makes this unique is no whale has ever swum thus far up the west of the Thames. 

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The rescue team consisted of officers from the Port of London Authority, London Fire Brigade, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Spectator Daniel Magee who recorded several videos of this whale at first assumed it was a seal. He narrated to CNN how he only realized it was a whale when he went closer and noticed the fin.   

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