A whale in Kent is causing an affront to democracy after planned Bonfire Night fireworks have been cancelled in case they upset Benny the beluga.
Approximately 15,000 people were planning to attend the fireworks display on November 2, an annual event to celebrate the killing of someone behind a revolutionary coup 400 years ago.
Kids playing with fireworks kept me up, alright, and we live in a very strange country. One with a whale hanging out in one of our rivers no less.
The Guardian reports Benny the beluga whale was first spotted feeding in the Thames estuary three weeks ago, and now the local council has cancelled the annual fireworks display in case the bangs upset him. Snowflake. That’s political correctness gone mad.
Gravesham Borough Council Leader and Safeguarding Champion, David Turner said:
While we understand this is also disappointing to the thousands of residents and visitors who enjoy our fantastic fireworks display every year, we have to ensure our special visitor is kept safe and well.
Keeping Benny safe has to be our priority while he visits us here in Gravesend, thousands of miles from his usual Arctic habitat.
I’m sure everyone, while disappointed by this postponement of the fireworks, will understand.
Council officials were reportedly advised by the Port of London the display shouldn’t take place on or over the river. The fireworks were originally going to be set off from a barge. Even moving the fireworks to another site around the town of Gravesend would still disturb the whale.
This is not the first sighting of a beluga whale off the British coast but it’s the farthest south one has ever ventured.
Lucy Babey, Head of Science and Conservation at the charity Orca, said:
We’ve never had the opportunity, thankfully, to observe such a situation before, so we really don’t know how long it could remain.
Local residents have been advised by the council to ‘think twice about holding private firework displays’ near the river in Gravesend. Disturbing the whale would be in breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Benny was first sighted coming up for air 1,000 miles from home on Tuesday, September 25, at around lunchtime. The Guardian reported wildlife experts said the whale appeared lost but seemed to be swimming strongly.
Specialist vets were sent to Gravesend to monitor Benny’s movements.
Julia Cable, the charity’s national coordinator, said:
It’s swimming strongly and appears to be feeding, so there’s no indication it’s unwell or acting strangely. We’re not particularly concerned about its welfare apart from the fact that it really shouldn’t be there.
We do have someone going down to keep an eye on it and report it. We are hoping it is not going to get in any trouble.
Thankfully Benny seems to be in good spirits even if he puts a downer on Bonfire Night. Wonder if he’s going to stick around for Christmas?
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.