Hopes of saving baby whale stranded in Thames fading fast

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

Hopes of saving the baby whale stranded in the Thames are running out as rescuers have warned "in all likelihood" the animal will need to be put to sleep.

Julia Cable, national co-ordinator of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue service, said the whale is now completely stationary in the water up against a wall in the area of Teddington Lock.

She said the whale is "as good as stranded", adding: "It's not really going to come down to a rescue now.

It is still around 30 miles from safe waters which is still a considerable distance for the injured whale and would need near constant guidance throughout.

Credit: PA

It was first spotted around midday in the Thames near Richmond on Sunday before it got stuck at Richmond Lock and Weir.

Crowds gathered to take pictures of the whale and a team from the Port of London Authority, firefighters and Royal National Lifeboat Institute managed to free the whale around 1am.

Ms Cable said: "Its condition is deteriorating. It's not acting the way it did last night. It's basically lost any energy that it had left in it.

"It's also got another stranding injury which along with ones from yesterday all adds up really.

"We're just going to make it a little bit more comfortable and we're going to have a veterinarian come down and take another look at it, and then they'll make a decision.

"It's not looking like we'll be able to re-float the animal."

Crowds gathered on Sunday and Monday to see the whale Credit: PA

Dan Jarvis, welfare development and field support officer at the British Divers Marine Life Rescue service, said the veterinarian will carry out a health assessment on the whale.

He 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 in "all likelihood" the whale would still need to be put to sleep and arrangements would need to be made to remove it from the river.

Mr Jarvis said: “This is likely the case with stranded cetaceans. 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."

The whale is still around 30 miles from open water Credit: PA

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.