Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Whale found dead in River Thames off Gravesend coast identified as endangered sei whale

A whale found dead off a Kent town has been confirmed as an endangered species.

The animal, found floating in the Thames off Gravesend on Friday, has been officially identified as a sei whale.

The dead whale was found at Gravesend town pier this morning. Picture: The Liquid Highway (19627884)
The dead whale was found at Gravesend town pier this morning. Picture: The Liquid Highway (19627884)

It is not yet known exactly what caused the stranding.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which carries out all post-mortems on cetaceans found around the UK noted the 9.7-metre juvenile female was a "relatively unusual species for the UK".

Rob Deaville, ZSL’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme project manager said: "This is only the seventh sei whale to be recorded stranded in the UK since the inception of the programme in 1990.

“The whale was judged to be in moderate nutritional condition and had no evidence of recent prey ingestion, with a largely empty gastrointestinal tract. No evidence of previous entanglement, shipstrike or other traumatic injury was found.

"No macroplastics were found in the stomachs or intestinal tract."

A post-mortem was carried out on the sei whale after being found off Gravesend shore
A post-mortem was carried out on the sei whale after being found off Gravesend shore

A parasite - suggested to be Bolbosoma turbinella - was found in the intestinal tract, but the investigative team say it is unclear how significant this finding is as it is commonly found in stranded sei whale specimens.

Mr Deaville continued: "Evidence of live stranding (organ hypostasis) was also found during the necropsy. The evidence from the gross necropsy is largely considered to be consistent with live stranding of an out of habitat and potentially compromised individual.

“Follow up microbiology and histopathology are pending, and these may shed further light on this case. A large number of samples and data were also collected from this stranding and will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the animal’s life as well as its death.”

“Many thanks to our colleagues at the Port of London Authority for their help in facilitating our access to the whale.”

Previously this month, a humpback whale nicknamed Hessy died after it was possibly hit with a ship.

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.


More by this author


Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More