Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Beluga whale spotted in River Thames outside London

ANALYSISSeptember 26 2018 9:32am The Times Underwater noise may have sent beluga whale off course Ben Webster Oceans Correspondent ANALYSISSeptember 26 2018 9:32am The Times Underwater noise may have sent beluga whale off course Ben Webster Oceans Correspondent
Doris Mccormick | 26 September, 2018, 15:00

Beluga whales are identified by distinctive white markings and are typically found farther north, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group said.

People have been warned not to approach it, and to stay on the shore.

The WDC's Danny Groves told the UK Press Association, "He or she is obviously very lost and quite possibly in trouble".

However rescue teams were on standby in case the animal got into danger.

"We're hoping if we give it enough space and keep an eye on it, it will find its own way out of the Thames to an environment that's more appropriate for it".

Lucy Babey, head of science at Orca, a marine conservation charity, said: "This is the most southerly recording of a beluga in the UK".

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The last reported sighting of beluga in United Kingdom waters was in 2015, when two were spotted off the Northumberland coast and one in Northern Ireland.

It said it is ready to provide help to the whale if asked to do so by other agencies.

The beaked whale, dubbed the Prince of Whales by some, became a sensation in London with large crowds gathering to watch the ultimately fruitless rescue attempts and near 24-hour media coverage.

According to the National Geographic, beluga whales are smallish, ranging from 13 to 20 feet in length.

"The white body colour, absence of a prominent dorsal fin, bulbous forehead and general swimming motion all suggest this very strongly", he said. They can move between salt and fresh water.

Belugas are able to produce sounds such as chirps, clicks, whistles and squeals, giving them the nickname "the canary of the sea".

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