Experts keep watch on beluga whale spotted off Gravesend

The rare beluga whale spotted in the River Thames on Tuesday has been sighted again near Gravesend.

The RSPCA animal welfare group said that it's "working with other agencies to monitor the situation" and sent researchers to the scene.

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

"Beluga whales are a species of the icy Arctic - finding one in the tepid Thames is an astonishingly rare event", said Rod Downie, polar chief adviser at WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Marine mammal experts at the Museum have said that it not possible to tell if the animal is definitely a beluga whale without clearer images, but they will keep an eye on its progress in the river.

Babey said it was unclear why this one had lost its way and come into the Thames, though it would be unlikely to have lost its way due to storms or because it was following prey.

"If they are eating things like jellyfish, we don't tend to have a great deal of jellyfish in the Thames, but we do have quite a lot of plastic bags, which could be quite an issue", she said, BBC News reported.

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

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

The RSPCA said it was aware of reports of a whale in the Thames.

In 2006, a whale died after it swam up the river into central London despite rescue efforts.

"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 be found in the waters around Russia, Alaska, Canada, West Greenland, and Svalbard.

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