British Divers Marine Life Rescue is the UK’s largest marine animal rescue organisation and was the lead organisation in the attempt to rescue the Thames Whale.

BDMLR has an extensive network of trained volunteers with specialised equipment who respond immediately to any marine mammal disaster or stranding throughout the UK. Most commonly we are called to help stranded seals, dolphins, porpoises and whales.

Anyone over 16 years of age can train as a Marine Mammal Medic and join this dedicated team of volunteers.

To read the official Thames Whale report, view images and video of the rescue and find out more about how you can get involved with the work of BDMLR, go to the regularly updated web site at


WDCS is the global voice for the protection of whales, dolphins and their environment. We take action to stop the threats facing whales and dolphins - such as whaling, entanglement in fishing nets and noise pollution.

We protect whales, dolphins and the places they live through conservation projects and campaigns for stronger laws.

WDCS experts worked with BDMLR to devise the best rescue plan for the Thames whale. We were greatly saddened by the outcome and are now working to ensure her death leads to better protection for UK’s whales and dolphins.

We continue to campaign for an end to commercial whaling. As pro-whaling countries push for the resumption of commercial whaling, we have a team of experts working to counter their arguments and advise governments how to protect whales.

To find out more about our campaigns and how you can help go to

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The Thames Whale

On Thursday January 19th 2006, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) received a report of a whale heading up stream in the River Thames. The following day, photos were taken by a representative of the Marine Connection and a positive ID was made of a Northern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus).

Through the rest of that day, Marine Mammal Medics from BDMLR followed the progress of the whale upstream towards the Battersea area, where the whale stayed until it eventually stranded the next day.

The amazing events of Saturday 21st January and the days surrounding it were followed by millions of people around the globe via TV news channels, national radio and the Internet, not least the thousands of people who flocked to the banks of the River Thames to watch the dramatic rescue attempt unfolding.

To read the full report, view images and video of this incident go to the BDMLR web site at

Thames Whale Commerative Plaque - location wanted! Can you help?

Image montage of the Thames Whale rescue

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) works to protect whales around the world from the many threats they face, including whaling, ocean noise and pollution.

IFAW staff trained in stranding rescue work assisted BDMLR with the attempted rescue of the Thames whale. Despite the sad outcome, the visit of the Thames whale did much to publicise the plight of whales and reinforced IFAW’s message that whales still need saving.

IFAW opposes commercial and “scientific” whaling and encourages whaling countries to instead support the growth of responsible whale watching. IFAW is urging the UK Government to take diplomatic action at the highest level between now and the next meeting of the International Whaling Commission in May 2007, to ensure that whales are seen but not hurt.

To find out how you can help IFAW protect whales click please visit

Natural History Museum

The northern bottlenose whale stranded in the River Thames in January 2006 is now in the National Research Collection at the Natural History Museum.

The bones were dried slowly and then placed in the Museum's National Research Collection joining the 2,500 whale, dolphin and porpoise skeletons already there.

For more information about where the skeleton of the whale is now and how it can be used for further research please visit

Marine Connection

The Marine Connection are actively committed to the conservation and welfare of dolphins and whales worldwide and have a long standing working relationship with BDMLR. Following initial sightings of a whale in the River Thames, Marine Connection’s Director of Operations, Liz Sandeman along with BDMLRs Alan Knight, Tony Woodley and the ZSLs Paul Jepson, subsequently identified the species as a Northern bottlenose whale and a photograph taken by Liz, of the whale swimming past the Houses of Parliament, captured the interest of the media. This was used extensively worldwide to accompany reports and stories on what had become known as the "Thames Whale".

Sadly the whale did not survive however the public awarenes raised by her presence will help others in the future. The Marine Connection makes a vital contribution to stopping threats to dolphins and whales; such as direct kills and captures from the wild to supply marine parks and swim with dolphin facilities.

Please help support our work by visiting