Lon­don’s marine life

Canal Boat - - News -

DID YOU KNOW that seals have been spot­ted as far up­stream as Hamp­ton Court Palace on the River Thames? Or that har­bour por­poises and dol­phins have been seen at Teddington Lock?

In fact, more than 2,700 seals, por­poises, dol­phins and whales have been spot­ted in the Thames Es­tu­ary over the past ten years.

The ZSL Thames Marine Mam­mal Sight­ings Sur­vey, which launched in 2004, was de­signed to help con­ser­va­tion­ists de­velop a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how marine mam­mals use the Thames Es­tu­ary, in or­der to help con­serve them.

“Peo­ple are of­ten sur­prised to hear that marine mam­mals are regularly spot­ted in Cen­tral Lon­don,” said Joanna Barker, Euro­pean Con­ser­va­tion Projects Man­ager at ZSL “As a top preda­tor, their pres­ence is a good sign that the Thames is get­ting cleaner and sup­port­ing many fish species. The pres­ence of these an­i­mals is also a great ex­am­ple of how ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments are im­por­tant for wildlife.” Other high­lights from the ten-year re­port in­clude: * Most sight­ings were of in­di­vid­ual an­i­mals, but oc­ca­sion­ally large groups were seen, in­clud­ing 100 seals spot­ted at Green­wich in Septem­ber 2014

* Many sight­ings were recorded in cen­tral Lon­don, es­pe­cially be­tween the Houses of Par­lia­ment and the 02 Arena, with Ham­mer­smith another hotspot * Har­bour seals were the most com­monly spot­ted marine mam­mal. “We were pleased to see that har­bour seals were some of the most com­monly spot­ted mam­mals. Their num­bers have dra­mat­i­cally de­clined in some parts of Scot­land, so the fact that they are fre­quently sighted in the Thames Es­tu­ary con­firms that the South East is an im­por­tant area for their con­ser­va­tion,” said Joanna Barker.

“It’s fan­tas­tic that so many peo­ple have got in­volved in the pro­ject – we rely on sight­ings to un­der­stand the where­abouts and be­hav­iour of marine mam­mals in cen­tral Lon­don. The more Lon­don­ers get in­volved, the more ac­cu­rate our un­der­stand­ing of wildlife in the Thames will be.”

The sur­vey is on­go­ing and you can take part zsl.org/inthethames

Have you spot­ted one?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.