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Mon May 10, 2021, 09:30 AM

Lost and far from home, these whales are emblems for our times

Philip Hoare
From the Thames to the Mediterranean, seeing nature out of place reminds us of our impact on the planet

With the weekend’s arrival of a young minke whale stuck in the River Thames – not far from where a seal pup was recently savaged by a dog – it seems marine mammals are appearing everywhere they shouldn’t be.

Since the beginning of April, an exotic visitor has been spotted off the coast of southern Europe. A lone grey whale, measuring eight metres long – and 7,000 miles from its fellow Pacific grey whales on the other side of the world – was seen off Rabat, Morocco, at the start of March. It wandered through the strait of Gibraltar – and into an enormous trap, the Mediterranean. Since then its progress has been charted from the north African coast to southern Italy and the south of France, from Naples to the Côte d’Azur. Unable to find its usual source of food, it is growing thinner and weaker in its search for a way out.

This is to anthropomorphise, of course. But the pitiful wanderings of a lost whale in the Mediterranean or a young whale at a watery dead end in London seem like a sign of our times. The fate of the London minke, despite its rescue on Monday morning, seems uncertain: experts are doubtful it will make its way back to the sea. Another minke was found dead in the Thames in November 2019. Such animals are often weakened, stressed and disoriented, and prey to collision with marine traffic in a busy waterway.


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Reply Lost and far from home, these whales are emblems for our times (Original post)
turbinetree May 10 OP
muriel_volestrangler May 15 #1
turbinetree May 15 #2

Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Sat May 15, 2021, 06:51 AM

1. Video of the grey whale - should be off Alaska, now in the western Mediterranean


They think it went through the Arctic (last summer, I suppose), and then across and down the Atlantic when it would have travelled from Alaska to Baja California. It cannot feed, or find its way out of the Mediterranean, so things don't look good.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #1)

Sat May 15, 2021, 02:26 PM

2. Thank you.........

This is really sad...

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