Officials are uncertain if the ship hit the humpback whale before or after the animal's death

By Kelli Bender
October 09, 2019 03:51 PM
Zoological Society of London

The wayward humpback whale spotted swimming in London’s River Thames has died.

According to the BBC, the young female whale died several days after first being seen. Her body was found on mudflats near Greenhithe, England on Tuesday.

Zoological Society of London (ZSL), along with officials from the U.K. Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme and Port of London Authority performed a post-mortem examination on the whale and determined the mammal was hit by a ship, though it is unclear if the strike occurred before or after the whale’s death.

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The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) told the BBC that the ocean dweller likely ended up in the Thames due to a navigational error. It is uncommon for humpback whales to end up stranded along the U.K. coast, according to ZSL, but humpback strandings appear to be on the rise. There have been five humpback whale strandings in the U.K. so far this year, up from the 1 to 2 strandings that usually occur annually.

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ZSL plans to continue their post-mortem examinations in hopes of finding more answers on what caused the humpback whale to enter the Thames and what killed the animal, reports The Guardian.

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