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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

IAR team helps support the Thames whale rescue

Crew lifting the whale onto the bargeIt was 'all hands on deck' in the IAR office in Uckfield when news came in on Friday evening of a whale swimming in the Thames. While a team from IAR’s sister charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue rushed to the aid of the Northern Bottlenose Whale, IAR staff liaised with rescuers at the scene and manned the constantly ringing phones throughout the weekend. Led by IAR CEO Alan Knight, the team assisted with the coordination of the rescue operation and kept the BDMLR network of volunteers updated on progress.

In spite of the best efforts of veterinary experts and rescuers to save the whale and move it out of the river on a barge, sadly the young female died on Saturday evening. Alan Knight, who is also Chairman of BDMLR, said: "The last two days have been a rollercoaster of emotions for us all, with our hopes of saving this beautiful animal being raised and then finally dashed when she lost the fight to survive. Nevertheless, I am really proud of the rescue operation that was attempted. The rescuers and the equipment worked faultlessly, and behind the scenes a team in the IAR office coped tirelessly with a stream of calls from rescuers, concerned members of the public, and press and media from around the world asking for updates and images of the rescue.

In spite of the sad death of the whale, in many ways this rescue attempt has been a very positive experience. The demonstration of public interest and support for the rescue from all over the world has been overwhelming. It is heartening to see that the British public is captivated by our magnificent marine wildlife and is concerned for its welfare. Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of the rescue volunteers and the back up team Vets monitoring the whale on the barge in the office, I am absolutely certain that we pulled out all the stops and gave that whale the very best possible chance of survival."

Preliminary results from a post mortem on the whale will be released on Wednesday 25 January. For further information, visit the BDMLR website.