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There Are Sharks In The River Thames

There Are Sharks In The River Thames

Parts of the Thames river were declared "biologically dead" in 1957

There are sharks in the River Thames.

Though parts of the river were declared "biologically dead" in 1957, the Thames is now home to three kinds of sharks: the tope, starry smooth-hound and spurdog, according to the Zoological Society of London.

Today, the river is a thriving ecosystem "home to myriad wildlife as diverse as London itself," the ZSL says in its State of the Thames report, a comprehensive look at the waterway from the 1950s to the present day. The 215-mile river now supports 115 species of fish and wildlife from seahorses to seals.

While the Thames is no longer "nearly devoid of life," climate change threatens the ecosystem and the animals depending on it. The ZSL, a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals, launched the Greater Thames Shark Project in 2020 to collect data on the endangered shark species that live in the outer estuary. People fishing in the river who catch a shark with a yellow tag on its fin are encouraged to record details about the animal online.

Tope sharks can grow to more than 6 feet long and can live for over 50 years. The species is classified as critically endangered around the world, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The other two shark species found in the Thames are smaller and also in jeopardy. Starry smooth-hound sharks have recently been designated as near threatened. The spurdog has been made vulnerable to extinction due to overfishing.

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