A dead whale has been pulled from the Thames, days after a humpback was struck by a boat in the same river.
The whale’s carcass was recovered from the water near Town Pier in Gravesend at about 10am today.
It was spotted floating in the water by members of the public.
A Port of London Authority (PLA) patrol boat was sent out to retrieve the whale and tow it back to the port.
A spokesperson for PLA said the whale had to be towed “very gently” so it would remain in one piece and could be examined by scientists at the Zoological Society of London for a post-mortem.
It was not immediately clear what caused the whale’s death.
Martin Garside, a spokesperson for PLA, said the mammal was about “eight to 10 metres long”.
His team suspected it might be a fin whale.
The animal’s body was discovered less than five miles from where a humpback whale was pulled from the water on 9 October.
Mr Garside said he was “as baffled as anyone else” by the two discoveries.
Both whales were recovered by the same crew, however Mr Garside said he believed it to be a “complete coincidence” they had turned up dead just miles apart.
The humpback, nicknamed Hessey, suffered “catastrophic” wounds when it was hit in the face by a boat.
It was first spotted swimming near Woolwich and Dagenham, east London, on 6 October but was found dead two days later.
Whale strandings in the UK are relatively rare, with just one or two recorded on average each year.
But this year, there have been five humpback strandings in the UK so far.
A humpback whale which entered the Thames 10 years ago died of starvation.
In 2018, a beluga whale nicknamed Benny was seen swimming in the Thames near Gravesend but is believed to have made its way back to sea.