A baby whale stranded along the River Thames has been put to sleep after efforts to guide it to open water failed.
The minke whale was first spotted in the Thames around Richmond Lock on Sunday afternoon and was successfully refloated in the early hours of Monday morning.
At the time it was already showing signs of injury and fatigue.
Later on Monday it was spotted further upstream around Teddington, where it became stranded again.
Julia Cable from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said the mammal was given a “large anaesthetic dose”.
She said vets from London Zoo administered the dose and the whale won't have felt anything.
Earlier in the day Dan Jarvis, field support officer at the British Divers Marine Life Rescue service, revealed they had planned to put the whale to sleep on Sunday night but it managed to break free of the pontoons it had been put on and swim further down the river.He said this was the usual scenario for stranded whales adding "it’s for a very good reason they’ve come ashore. Sometimes it is by accident, they do get stranded, but usually sadly it is the case that they’re already seriously ill or badly injured."
Pictures showed passers-by and photographers lining the river on Monday afternoon, with the whale clearly visible in the water.
A witness told the news agency that “quite the crowd” watched as the attempted rescue took place on Sunday.
Minke whales are the smallest of the great whales, growing to about 33ft (10m).
They can usually be found throughout the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Their range extends from the ice edge in the Arctic during the summer to near the equator during winter.