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Beluga whale spotted swimming in the Thames

The RSPCA is heading to the scene after video footage of the animal cruising down the Thames appears on social media.

16:14, UK, Tuesday 25 September 2018

Beluga whale 0:23

Video: Rare beluga whale spotted in river Thames.

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Key points: 

  • British Divers Marine Life Rescue says sighting is "concerning"
  • RSPCA also investigating 
  • Beluga whale said to be "swimming strongly and feeding"

 

16:48

Children coming home from school try to catch a glimpse of the beluga whale after it was spotted swimming solo in the Thames, reports Sky News correspondent Emma Birchley...

16:44

 

16:07

 

A picture from 2006 shows rescuers soothing a stranded whale with water after it spent two days in the Thames.

Rescuers placed the 16-18ft (5m) northern bottle-nosed whale on a special pontoon to tow it to safety. 

The whale appeared to have been lost and it was the first time the species had been seen in the Thames since records began in 1913.

She died from convulsions as she was being rescued.

 

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16:00

 

Beluga whales typically feed on fish, crustaceans, and worms.

They are related to the tusked “unicorn” whale known as the narwhal and can live up to around 30 yearsold in the wild...

 

15:56

Wildlife author Hugh Harrop shared a picture from 1996 when he spotted a beluga whale in Shetland, Hoswick Bay...

15:50

 

WDC, a global charity for the conservation of whales and dolphins, said while belugas do tend to swim up rivers in shallow waters, they don't usually go this far south or alone...

 

 

15:37

 

John Wright, from Southend, said he heard about the whale sighting on late Tuesday morning on Twitter and Whatsapp.

He told Sky News: "I came down as soon as I could and saw him a couple of hours ago.

"I've seen him really well, 10 to 20 times coming up for air".

 

 

15:31

 

Beluga whales are also called white whales and are social animals, ranging from 13 to 20 feet in length.

They are very vocal communicators that employ a diversified language of clicks, whistles and clangs. 

 

15:27

 

15:26

Aspiring marine biologist Beth Clyne, 20, of East Yorkshire, expressed her shock at the beluga whale sighting on Twitter...

15:20

 

Ecologist Dave Andrews first shared the footage of the sea mammal onto social media and said it was swimming in the river off Coalhouse Fort, Essex.

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...

 

 

 

15:14

 

It is not the first time a beluga has been spotted in UK waters in recent years.

"In the summer of 2015 two were spotted off the Northumberland coast and one in Northern Ireland," Danny Groves, from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said.

 

 

15:05

 

14:59

 

Danny Groves, from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said: "This is a High Arctic species thousands of miles from where it should be in Greenland, Svalbard or the Barents Sea, they are usually associated close to the ice.

"He or she is obviously very lost and quite possibly in trouble."

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

 

14:56

 

Photographers are on standby hoping to get a shot of the beluga whale, which is normally found in the High Arctic and could be lost or in trouble...

 

 

14:51

 

A spokeswoman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organisation said the whale sighting is a "very rare occurrence".

She urged people not to go out in boats to get a close look at the whale, but to watch it from the shore.

 

14:49

The beluga whale is hundreds of miles from its normal Arcitc habitat, naturalists said... Pic: Rob Powell/LNP

Beluga whale in the Thams. Pic: Rob Powell/LNP

14:45

"This is the most southerly sighting of a beluga we have ever seen around these shores," said Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation at the ORCA charity.

14:36

 

One Kent resident shared a picture of the beluga whale onto Twitter...

 

 

14:34

 

14:33

 

The RSPCA has said it is "working with other agencies to monitor the situation" after the whale was caught on camera in a rare sighting in the Thames...

 

 

14:30

 

14:25

Victoria Bird, field editor for Sky News, is in East Tilbury hoping to catch a glimpse of the beluga whale... 

14:20

A crowd gathers to see the beluga whale in the Thames after it was first sighted near Gravesend...

14:19

 

In 2006, an 18ft (5m) northern bottle-nosed whale died after becoming stranded in the Thames following a seven-hour rescue attempt...

 

 

14:15

The whale charity ORCA says the animal should be given "plenty of space"...

14:12

 

Sightings of Beluga whales are extremely rare on the coasts of the UK.

They are typically spotted off the coast of Scotland, as this is closest to their native waters.

Beluga whales usually travel in groups or "pods".

A sighting of a whale on its own could indicate it is lost.

 

14:09

The RSPCA said in a statement: "We are looking into reports of a possible sighting of a whale in the River Thames and are sending an officer to investigate further."

Beluga whale

13:59

 

13:58

Rare white whale in London's river

13:56

 

Key points: 

  • British Divers Marine Life Rescue says sighting is "concerning"
  • RSPCA also investigating 
  • Beluga whale said to be "swimming strongly and feeding"

 

 

13:54

 

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it is a beluga whale, which was spotted the River Thames in Kent.

It added that the sighting is "concerning as it's not a common species, however it's swimming strongly and feeding".

 

13:48

Photographers on the banks of the Thames...

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13:47

Beluga whales, also called white whales, are most commonly seen in shallow waters in the Arctic close to the coast.

https://news.sky.com/story/live-beluga-whale-spotted-swimming-in-the-thames-11508334

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 25, 2018 17:04

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