Arctic beluga whale 'swimming strongly' in Thames estuary

Arctic beluga whale 'swimming strongly' in Thames estuary

The beluga is believed to be an older juvenile.

In a tweet, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, which helps rescue stranded marine wildlife, said it was monitoring the situation.

"Its behaviour is consistent with that of a healthy animal that's feeding - no one knows if it is feeding normally or adequately, but it's behaviour is consistent with that".

Rescue teams have been on standby in case it starts to struggle.

Andrews describes himself on his Twitter account as an ecologist and ornithologist and spotted a Beluga whale peacefully swimming in the river Thames, far away from its habitat.

It is a rare visit for the beluga, a species that usually inhabits the coastlines of northern Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska and Canada.

Among the theories of how the whale ended up in the Thames is that it followed a shoal of fish into the waterway.

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According to National Geographic magazine, beluga whales can range from 13 to 20 feet in length.

As adults they are pure white, but young are born grey and lose their greyness over their first seven years.

The previous reported sightings of beluga whales in United Kingdom waters were in 2015, when two were spotted off the northeast coast of England and one in Northern Ireland.

Martin Garside, from the Port of London Authority, said the whale "appears to be behaving in a similar way to yesterday".

The Thames remains a busy waterway and the whale is now between two major container docks, Tilbury and the new London Gateway port.

"The Thames beluga is back feeding in its favoured spot around the barges on the Kent side", he said urging all boats to "keep clear and let it alone".

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