|Aside from the Japanese, Norwegians and Faroese who would consider it dinner, most of us only dream of ever witnessing the magnificence of whale. And there she was gliding past Parliament!|
But the distressed, disorientated northern bottle-nosed whale we saw in the heart of London on Friday was an alien. As strange to her as it was to us, which is why we were all so fascinated in Celebrity Big Blubber (as The Sun newspaper called her) and so concerned to get her safely back into her own environment.
Last summer, when swimming in the Upper Thames with my son he was reluctant to get into its cool, dark waters, knowing very well that large mysterious things lived in there because he is a fisherman and has hooked some of them out. I persuaded him that there would be no sharks. ‘What if there was a whale?’ he mused. I told him there was no chance, though I did explain that dolphins and porpoises live in some of the world’s great rivers, though not the Thames…
The leviathan captured our hearts and rendered me a liar. Despite herculean efforts by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) our cetacean friend died. BDMLR is a charity and reckons the rescue will have cost Â£100,000 (including Â£300 in parking fines for their rescue team.) Please support them!
Was it worth it? Yes. Because maybe the appearance and very public death of this one whale in the Thames will help us redouble our efforts to apply pressure on those countries who still kill whales under the pathetic pretext of scientific reasons.