Beluga whale spotted in River Thames outside London

26 September, 2018, 20:08 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • ANALYSISSeptember 26 2018 9:32am The Times Underwater noise may have sent beluga whale off course Ben Webster Oceans Correspondent

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

A beluga whale has been spotted in the River Thames, shocking onlookers.

However rescue teams are on standby in case it gets into danger.

There have only been around 20 sightings of beluga whales off the United Kingdom coast previously (file photo).

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

Officials say they're monitoring the situation from afar too.

Tanya Ferry, environment manager at the Port of London Authority, said it was unclear what the whale could eat.




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

"We do have quite a lot of plastic bags, which could be quite an issue", she said.

"We would urge that the whale is given space and disturbance is kept to a minimum", he said.

Whale watchers have flocked to the banks of the Thames to try and spot the mammal.

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.

A female northern bottlenose whale was discovered swimming in the river in central London, going past the Houses of Parliament. They are known for living long lives and are typically found further north, in Arctic waters.

The whales were nicknamed "canaries of the sea" by early whalers due to their squeaks and squawks.

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