The River Thames was declared biologically dead 64 years ago, but a recent health check on the river shows some positive signs of new life, enough for a Londoner to cheer. Experts led the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) assessment, which revealed that surprising species now live in the river, such as sharks, seahorses, eels, and seals.
However, a part of the report also showed that the worsening climate change had caused a 0.34°F (0.19°C) rise in temperature during summer since 2007 and sea levels.
River Thames Rebounds to Life
London's River Thames was so polluted that the Natura History Museum declared it biologically dead in 1957. But more than 60 years later, ZSL reveals the first-ever State of Thames Report that conducted a health check of the river.
The report says that approximately 115 species of fish now live in the river that provides food for three species of sharks, which swim just above where seahorses and eels can be found.
Furthermore, the report highlights the gradual work environmental groups are doing to reduce the pressure on life in the river for the last six decades when it was still polluted. More so, it reported that oxygen levels increased as phosphorous concentrations in the river have significantly fallen.
Alison Debney, the ZSL program lead for wetland recovery, said that the report shows how far has the river has come in its journey to recovery since 64 years ago.
According to Good News Network, ZSL has been restoring the river as a tidal and estuarine ecosystem for almost 20 years since 2003. Experts pointed out that the best way to measure its progress is to assess how the river's estuary is doing, particularly on the top predators: the gray and harbor seals.
Climate Change Threatens Progress of River Thames
Despite now becoming home to wildlife and showing other positive notes, the report also revealed that climate change is adversely affecting River Thames.
An article in USA Today specified that some parts of the river have been experiencing increased temperatures every year since 2007. More so, the State of Thames Report also showed that one area of the river is constantly rising on an average of 0.17 inches every year from 1990 to 2018.
Moreover, not all animals in the river are seeing a positive and encouraging growth even though researchers have seen flourishing wildlife. The report says that the number of fish species in the River Thames has decreased, and researchers are yet to discover the reason behind it. Although, they are planning to do more research the determine its cause.
The first-ever State of Thames Report may be finished, but ZSL said they would revisit the data in the next five to 10 years as they monitor the river.
RELATED ARTICLE: Thames' Lonely Beluga Whale 'Benny' Moves On
Check out more news and information on Environment and Climate in Science Times.