Fears for disorientated and lost Beluga as it heads BACK to London

Jan Cross
September 28, 2018

British officials are checking out reports that a beluga whale is swimming in the River Thames.

It was first spotted by ecologist and ornithologist Dave Andrews, who said it had been feeding around barges near Gravesend in Kent.

"At the moment, there are no major concerns for the welfare of the animal", the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a statement, adding that the whale appeared "able to move fast in the water and dive".

Rob Lott, a marine mammal scientist at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation wildlife charity, said the cetacean was being monitored in case it strands on a sandbank.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said the beluga's visit to the Thames was a "very rare occurrence", and urged people not to go out in boats to get a close look at the whale, but to watch it from the shore.

Beluga whales are usually found in the Arctic Ocean, with males measuring as long as 5.5 metres and can also weigh up to 1,600kg.

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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 most likely scenario, which we are not going to know until we can investigate this animal more, is that there is an impairment to its navigation system", Babey said.

A "very lost" beluga whalespotted in the Thames on Tuesday has been sighted again.

They are considered "extremely sociable mammals" and live in pods.

As day turns into evening here in Britain, many hope that the whale of 2018 will have a much happier ending.

In 2006, a northern bottlenose whale died after swimming a considerable way up the Thames, reaching as far as central London.

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