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Sharks, seahorses found in ‘biologically dead’ Thames river

Thames plays an important part for the communities living around it as the rive provides them drinking water, food and even offers protection from coastal flooding.

London’s famous river Thames is now home to seahorses, eels, seals and sharks. This was revealed during a recent ‘health check’ of the river. This is a good news as Thames was declared ‘biologically dead’ 64 years ago – in 1957.

In a survey conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) brought “positive news” and showed that the 346-kilometre-long river has three kinds of sharks: the tope, starry smooth-hound and spurdog, apart from 115 species of fish and wildlife.

“Today, the riveris a thriving ecosystem home to myriad wildlife as diverse as London itself,” the ZSL said in its State of the Thames report. The research takes a comprehensive look at Thames from the 1950s to the present day.

ZSL launched the Greater Thames Shark Project in 2020 to collect data on the endangered shark species that live in the outer estuary.

Tope sharks can grow to more than six feet long and live for over 50 years. The species is classified as critically endangered around the world, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Spurdog is called the “venomous shark”. The spine in front of its two dorsal fins secrete a venom that can cause pain and swelling in humans. It is found in deep water.

Thames plays an important part for the communities living around it as the rive provides them drinking water, food and even offers protection from coastal flooding.

The ZSL though expressed happiness over the life forms found in the river, it also said that Thames faces challenges from climate change and pollution.

The charity, devoted to worldwide conservation of animals, said in its report that Thames’ temperature is rising by 0.2 degrees Celsius on an average every year.

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