River Thames now fit for porpoise, says wildlife study

LONDON: Seals and porpoises are becoming a common sight in the Thames Estuary and further upstream in London, survey results published on Thursday show.

A total of 2,732 marine mammals were spotted by members of the public in the river between 2004 and 2014, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said in a report.

Harbour seals were the most commonly sighted marine mammal, with 1,080 animals reported, while 333 grey seals were also recorded during the ongoing survey.

Another 823 unidentified seals were also spotted over the decade-long period while 49 whales, 398 harbour porpoises, 46 dolphins and three otters were also seen, the survey revealed.

The majority of sightings were of individual animals, but in September 2014 100 seals were spotted at Greenwich and in November 2014 30 pilot whales were spotted near Clacton-on-Sea.

A northern bottlenose whale famously swam up the Thames past the Houses of Parliament in 2006 but failed to survive.

A hotspot for sightings was Canary Wharf in east London, with more sightings of marine mammals reported by the public around the docks and wharfs of the financial hub than any area along the Thames Estuary over the past decade.

Source: APP