Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Beluga whale in Thames eating, swimming well

Beluga whale spotted in the river Thames A beluga whale could have swum into the river Thames
Theresa Hayes | 28 September, 2018, 21:26

A beluga in the Thames, actually.

A beluga whale, stranded in the River Thames outside London since Tuesday morning, is probably the furthest south one of the creatures has been seen in the United Kingdom, ecologist Michael Hoit told Euronews.

Rod Downie, polar chief adviser at WWF, said: "Beluga whales are a species of the icy Arctic - finding one in the tepid Thames is an astonishingly rare event".

Whale experts said a beluga may have ended up in the Thames after becoming disorientated and making a navigational error.

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.

"Nobody tell my boss I'm now watching a live feed of a river", one person joked on Twitter.

After British Divers Marine Life Rescue were alerted, they confirmed the sighting, noting that the whale seemed to be "swimming strongly".

The whale was first spotted on Tuesday by ecologist Dave Andrews, who tweeted footage of the white animal.

The unusual sighting happened in the Gravesend area about 50 kilometres east of London.

And a spokesman for the RSPCA said it was aware of the situation and was working with other age agencies to monitor the situation provide appropriate assistance if requested.

The beluga's appearance brings back memories of the famous 2006 Thames whale.

Richard Sabin, principal curator of mammals at the Natural History Museum, said photos and videos he had seen appeared to show a beluga whale.

"He or she is obviously very lost and quite possibly in trouble". Belugas are social creatures and tend to swim in groups of ten or more.