Bottlenose dolphin, found in the Thames
Monday 9 July 2001
A carcass of an adult female bottlenose dolphin was brought to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) on Monday 9 July for post mortem examination by Veterinary Pathologist, Paul Jepson, of the UK Marine Mammal Strandings Project, which is funded by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Weighing over 350 kgs and measuring 3.02m, the dead dolphin was found by The Metropolitan Police Marine Support Unit and retrieved from The Thames on Sunday 8 July. Today, the animal was transported to ZSL's pathology unit at London Zoo by co-researchers from The Natural History Museum.
Found in Wapping, on the River's north bank, the dolphin is thought to be the same individual that was first seen swimming near Blackfriars Bridge on 24 June. Since the initial sighting, The River Police have been monitoring the animal's activity on a daily basis.
"When the dolphin first appeared in The Thames, it was seen feeding and behaving normally and swimming strongly against the tide," comments Paul Jepson, Veterinary Pathologist for ZSL. "Over the last two weeks its condition has apparently deteriorated. At this stage, it is difficult to speculate why the animal died, but she has lost nearly all her teeth which would suggest that she is an old girl."
"It is very rare to find a dolphin in The Thames," continues Jepson. "There are two resident populations of bottlenose dolphins in the UK - one in the Moray Firth and another off the Welsh Coast in Cardigan Bay. Extensive photographic identification records of these dolphins may allow other researchers to establish which area this individual came from."
The preliminary results of the post mortem should be available on Tuesday 10 July.
For further information please contact:
Zoological Society of London Public Relations Office:
Debbie Curtis: 020 7449 6363,
Peter Beatty: 020 7449 6361
Joe Laing: 020 7449 6236
Notes to Editors:
- The UK Marine Mammal Strandings Project is a collaborative research project between The Zoological Society of London, the Natural History Museum and the Scottish Agricultural College, Inverness and is funded by DEFRA.
- The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a registered charity that promotes the world-wide conservation of animals and their habitats by breeding threatened species, increasing public awareness, conducting relevant research and undertaking action in the field.
For more information: www.zsl.org
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