Beluga whale spotted in River Thames

Media captionWATCH LIVE: Aerial shots after reported sighting of a Beluga whale in the River Thames.

Benny the beluga whale has been spotted swimming in the River Thames - again!

The RSPCA said: "We are working with other agencies to monitor the situation and ready to provide appropriate assistance if requested", it said.

Describing the Thames whale as "vulnerable", Dolman explained that noises from nearby and passing boats may alarm the animal as it attempts to make its way out of the Thames and back home to the Arctic.

Belugas, also known as white whales, are "one of the most familiar and easily distinguishable" of all whales, according to National Geographic.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation group said beluga whales had distinctive white markings and were typically found farther north.

Ecologist, Dave Andrews, was the first to spot the impressive creature, watching it as it ate around the barges near Gravesend, Kent.

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

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. "There have only been around 20 sightings of beluga whales off the United Kingdom coast previously, but these have occurred off Northumberland, Northern Ireland and Scotland".

He urged people to give the whale "space and minimise disturbance". They have a rounded forehead and no dorsal fin. 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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