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Three species of shark have been found living in the Thames


Leonie Cooper
Written by
Leonie Cooper

People who squeal uncontrollably every time they find out that ‘Jaws’ is going to be on telly, look away now. 

It turns out that, despite being declared ‘biologically dead’ in 1957, the River Thames has seen an impressive increase in the range of wildlife that live in and around it since the 1990s. Fish species in the tidal areas of the Thames showed a slight decline – though there are still more than 100 kinds of fish in the 215-mile long river – it turns out that three kinds of sharks have also made the Thames their home, including the tope, starry smooth hound and spurdog. And yes, those are real names of sharks, not just the DJ line-up for the next big weekender at The Cause.

The State of the Thames Report, led by the Zoological Society of London, is the first report into the state of the Thames Estuary in 60 years and found that seahorses, eels and seals are living in the river as well as the trio of legendary sharks.

It’s not all fun and shark-y games however. The Thames has increased in temperature due to climate change and while oxygen levels are getting better, nitrates from sewage are getting worse. Boo. 

Alison Debney of ZSL has said of the report: ‘Estuaries are one of our neglected and threatened ecosystems. They provide us with clean water, protection from flooding, and are an important nursery for fish and other wildlife. The Thames Estuary and its associated 'blue carbon' habitats are critically important in our fight to mitigate climate change and build a strong and resilient future for nature and people. This report has enabled us to really look at how far the Thames has come on its journey to recovery since it was declared biologically dead, and, in some cases, set baselines to build from in the future.’

Remember the Thames shark of 2020?

London's best outdoor swimming spots. No sharks allowed

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