I was sitting in a doctor’s office a couple of Saturdays ago when I saw on TV an incredible sight: a huge, bottlenosed whale had actually strayed into the Thames, and was struggling desperately to stay alive. It was first reported by a man who spotted it and thought he was hallucinating at first. The appearance of the whale in the middle of London really is a mystery; no one could come up with a plausible explanation for this strange occurrence.
It was a sad sight. The huge animal was obviously in completely alien territory and had become injured in the narrow channel of water. Besides, it must have been totally disoriented and desperate to find the rest of its pod. A rescue plan was initiated and the papers reported optimism about the whale being returned to the North Atlantic, from where it had strayed; but it was not to be. The whale died in the middle of the rescue operation, whilst it was being hoisted out of the Thames.
I’ve always been fascinated by whales and felt terrible when I first saw the story on TV. The rest of the lost whale’s pod must have been looking for it; as far as I know, they have fairly intricate social connections. I certainly hope that this is not the beginning of a terrible trend, whereby, due to some yet-unknown selfish action of humans, whales are being forced out of their natural territory, losing their way and straying into the river.