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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Thames whale rescue: report

Crew lifting the whale onto the bargePreliminary findings from a post mortem examination by veterinary scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) indicate that the whale’s death was caused by a combination of factors including severe dehydration, some muscle damage and reduced kidney function.

Whales and dolphins obtain water from their food. Northern bottlenose whales normally feed on deep water squid in the Atlantic Ocean and therefore the young whale would have been unable to feed either in the North Sea or during the time she spent in the Thames and so had become dehydrated.

It will be several weeks before the post mortem is completed and further tests have been carried out to identify conclusively the cause of the whale’s death. However, it is already certain that she stood no chance of survival while she remained in the river Thames and her only hope of staying alive lay in the hands of her rescuers. It was a moment of profound sadness for all those involved in the rescue attempt and the millions following her progress when she lost the fight to survive. However, there is great comfort in knowing that the expert BDMLR team and the many groups and agencies who supported their effort gave the young whale the best possible chance of being saved.

For further information, visit the BDMLR website.