September 14, 2009

O-M-G! This Is Horrible News! Humpback Whale Found 'Starved to Death' in the Thames! Over-Fishing The Oceans is Responsible for This Premature Death!

The Daily Mail UK
Humpback whale found 'starved to death' in the Thames
written by Staff Reporter
Monday September 14, 2009

A humpback whale has been found dead in the Thames, scientists said today.

The 9.5m-long (28ft) juvenile male whale was first spotted in the River Thames on Thursday, but was not seen again until it was found dead on Saturday morning near Dartford Bridge.

Initial examination suggests the humpback, the first to have been found in the Thames, may have died of starvation.

Scientists from The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which manages the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, said the beaching of the humpback whale was an "incredibly unusual event".

The last humpback to be found stranded in the UK was at Port Talbot in Wales in 2007.

The ZSL team, who were also involved in attempts to rescue the whale which swam up the Thames in 2006 and the mass dolphin stranding in Cornwall last year, carried out a post-mortem examination in-situ after the whale was recovered by the Port of London Authority.

The programme's manager, Rob Deaville, said: "Preliminary results from the post-mortem examination indicate that it may have died as a result of starvation, but further tests are still pending and may provide additional information about what happened to this whale.

"There have only been 12 strandings of humpback whales in the last 20 years and this is an incredibly unusual event."

And he said: "Although it's obviously a sad outcome in this instance, the post-mortem examination has given us a rare opportunity to examine a truly extraordinary animal at close quarters.

"Information gathered through examinations like these will hopefully help further our understanding of such animals and also help contribute to improving their conservation status."

The researchers said examinations of stranded whales and dolphins can provide insight into causes of death, diseases, environmental contamination, diet and health of the mammals, which in turn can help detect outbreaks of disease, unusual deaths and environmental changes.

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