Saturday, January 21, 2006

London "Thames" A Whale...

Whale in River Thames Causes Wave

LONDON - It's a whale of a tale — a bottle-nosed whale swimming up the River Thames past Big Ben and Parliament on Friday as rows of worried Londoners looked on. The whale was spotted in the afternoon as it flailed around in the murky waters of the Thames, stirring up patches of what looked like blood as seagulls hovered above and rescue boats stood at the ready. It was the first sighting of a Northern bottle-nosed whale in the river since British whale-watching records began in 1913. Witness Tom Howard-Vyne said he saw the mammal swim under Westminster Bridge, near Big Ben. "I saw it blow. It was a spout of water which sparkled in the air," said Howard-Vyne. "It was an amazing sight."

A small armada of rescue boats frantically searched for the mammal, but it was lost from view around sunset, when it dived under water. Crews barricaded a section of river in an attempt to force the animal to change course; it was unclear if their efforts were a success.

"A whale in the shallow water of the River Thames is like a human lost in the heat of the Sahara desert. It's just not made for these conditions," said Laila Sadler, scientific officer at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "We are worried that it will survive only for 24 to 48 hours if it doesn't head back to sea. It also seems to be in distress, it has already made two seemingly deliberate attempts to beach itself."

Wow, that must have been some sight. No word in the article about if they actually got it out of there. Hope it had a whale of a time touring London...

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