Experts' fears for sperm whale spotted in shallow waters of Thames Estuary

30 January 2020, 22:14

Experts spotted the large sperm whale in shallow water in the Thames Estuary
Experts spotted the large sperm whale in shallow water in the Thames Estuary. Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

By Asher McShane

Experts have expressed fears over the wellbeing of a whale that has been spotted in the Thames Estuary.

The 50ft sperm whale was spotted at around 11.45am today. Experts from British Divers Marine Life Rescue said the whale appeared "in trouble" around 100m off the coast at Whitstable.

They posted online: "At around 11.45am today, we received a call alerting us to a whale in trouble approximately 100m off the coast of Whitstable, on the North Kent coast.

"By 12.45pm, we had a local volunteer on scene however the whale had moved away in the direction of the Isle of Sheppey and The Swale, a tidal channel of the Thames estuary.

At around 11.45am today, we received a call alerting us to a whale in trouble approximately 100m off the coast of...

Posted by British Divers Marine Life Rescue on Thursday, 30 January 2020

"At first the whale was thought to be a minke or possibly a humpback, but as soon as photos emerged from a member of public who viewed the whale from Whitstable, it became clear that it was more likely to be a sperm whale; a deep water species not usually found around the UK.

"At 1.30pm, we received a further call from the Inshore Fisheries patrol boat who were watching the whale swimming with the rising tide into The Swale.

"Our volunteers followed the progress of the whale by land and at 3pm found the animal in shallow water not far from where the last report had come from. The whale appears to be moving slightly although with the tide now dropping hopes for the animal finding its way back out to deep water are fading.

"BDMLR medics are monitoring its movement and behaviour."

Experts fear the whale could get trapped on mudflats at low tide.

A large number of sea creatures have been spotted in the Thames Estuary in the last 18 months.

In September 2018 Benny the beluga whale was spotted near Gravesend, Kent and stayed resident in the waters for months.

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