A Humpback Whale has been seen in the waters of the Thames Estuary close to Dartford in Kent, according to the Port of London Authority. The animal was spotted numerous times at the weekend (5-6 October 2019), with estimates of its size ranging from five to ten metres. The Whale is being monitored by observers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who have confirmed that it appears ro be healthy and behaving in a normal way, though there are concerns that it may be at risk if it remains within the estuary too long, as the waters are tidal, have heavy river traffic, and probably offers little in the way of food for a large Baleen Whale.
A Humpback Whale close to the Dartford Crossing in the Thames Estuary this week. David Callahan/Kent Online.
Humpback Whales were nearly exterminated by commercial Whaling in the first part of the twentieth century. The species has been protected since 1946, and in recent years their population has appeared to be recovering in many areas, now being seen as being of Least Concern under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. These Whales are becoming increasingly common in waters around the UK, but are also increasingly coming into rivers and other areas where they are more at risk from Human activities, as well as being stranded on beaches and becoming entangled in fishing gear.
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