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Thames Whale updates: Where is the Minke Whale now? Fears grow as it ‘swims wrong way’

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The River Thames is not the typical place you’d expect to see a whale, however, the RNLI and Marine Life Rescue services are growing increasingly concerned about a three-metre minke whale calf in the river. First spotted on Sunday night at Richmond Lock, the whale calf has been seen swimming in the wrong direction, away from its natural sea habitat.

On Sunday night the whale calf – which was seen to be injured – was refloated by a team of rescuers from the Port of London Authority, Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), British Divers Marine Life Rescue, London Fire Brigade and the police.

The team took several hours to refloat it and then towed it a mile downstream.

The natural habitat of the whale is the north Atlantic, and separated from its mother rescuers are concerned about its future.

Martin Garside, a spokesman from Port of London Authority said: “He’s run out of river to be honest – he has got nowhere to go unless he turns back and swims the right way.”

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Whether another rescue attempt will take place is unclear, as the rescuers are assessing the stress levels of the animal.

Many are hoping the rising tide will re-float the calf and reduce stress an attempt to lift it from shallow water may cause.

Expres.co.uk will update this page with more information as it comes.

Mr Garside said: “That whale’s life hangs in the balance: it is injured, it is very young and it is so far from home.

The whales prefer cooler temperatures and enjoy a varied diet of krill and schooling fish, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group.

They are not usually seen in the River Thames and it was not immediately clear why the minke calf was so far from its normal habitat.

However, experts have suggested the young whale may have become disorientated while hunting or may be unwell.

Danny Groves of Whale and Dolphin Conservation said: “This whale could have become lost whilst following prey, or could be ill or injured.

“Equally, many whales and dolphins get into difficulty because they may have been struck by a vessel at sea, injured in fishing nets, driven off course by loud underwater noise from seismic surveys for oil or gas, or loud underwater sonar from military exercises.

“This poor individual is way off course and still faces a struggle to get back out to sea.”

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