Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Beluga whale spotted in the Thames off Gravesend

Beluga whale spotted in the Thames off Gravesend

A beluga whale was spotted on Tuesday near barges in the River Thames near London, hundreds of miles from its normal Arctic habitat, naturalists said.

Ecologist Dave Andrews tweeted footage of the marine mammal, which he said was swimming in the river off Coalhouse Fort, Essex.

Photos posted on Twitter appeared to show a white whale in the water.

Despite awesome some people, the beluga whale sighting has left others concerned for its health.

Another Twitter user Francis Rowney tweeted: "Almost unbelievably, it would seem that there is now a beluga whale in the Thames!"

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it seemed to be "swimming strongly".

Whales are rarely seen in the Thames, and the sighting has sparked conerns for the beluga's health.

It says it is ready to provide help to the whale if asked to do so by other agencies.

"Beluga whales inhabit cold, arctic waters off Greenland, Svalbard and in the Barents Sea", the group said in a statement.

"He or she is obviously very lost and quite possibly in trouble". People have been warned not to approach it, and to stay on the shore.

In 2006, a whale died after it swum up the Thames into central London despite efforts to rescue the animal.

Mr Groves urged people to give the whale "space and minimise disturbance".

Mr Groves said it was not the first time a beluga has been spotted in United Kingdom waters in recent years. The last sighting of a Beluga whale was some three years ago, off the coast of Northumberland, in northern England.

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