Published: Wed, September 26, 2018
Research | By Wilma Wheeler

Beluga whale spotted swimming in the River Thames in shocking video

Beluga whale spotted swimming in the River Thames in shocking video

While the report of the animal prompted excitement on social media, conservationists warned that the beluga whale, normally found in the High Arctic, was lost and could be in trouble.

In a tweet, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, which helps rescue stranded marine wildlife, said it was monitoring the situation.

He added the beluga had been feeding around barges on the river for around an hour and had not moved more than 200m either direction on the river.

Beluga whales, which are easily identifiable by their white markings, usually inhabit the cold Arctic waters off Greenland, Svalbard and the Barents Sea.

Ornithologist Dave Andrews, who first spotted the whale, said it was back in the same place on Wednesday.

The Beluga poked its head out of the water on multiple occasions.

The last sighting in United Kingdom waters was in 2015 when they were spotted off northeastern England near the Northumberland coastline, but they left shortly afterwards, she added.

The whale spotted in the Thames was clearly a mature beluga whale, and possibly a female or a younger whale due to its size, Babey said.

The Thames remains a busy waterway. Highly sociable, they typically form pods and are often seen in river estuaries in the summer.

A female northern bottlenose whale was discovered swimming in the river in central London, going past the Houses of Parliament.

By Tuesday lunchtime, photographers were lining the banks of the Thames, as were locals and others, and the BBC had launched its own live-stream of the creature, with some folks giving themselves the afternoon off work just to watch it. Officials hope it will return to the open sea.

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