Unusual sighting: Beluga whale spotted in River Thames outside London

A reported beluga whale in the Thames off Coalhouse Fort

A reported beluga whale in the Thames off Coalhouse Fort in Essex Credit Dave Andrews

Beluga whales are not often found near the United Kingdom - the last sighting was in 2015 when two were seen near Northumberland and another near Northern Ireland.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society spokesman Danny Groves said as the whales were high Arctic species, "this one is thousands of miles from where it should be".

Boats are now being kept clear of the area and the public have been told not to get close to the animal.

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

Throughout the day, Andrews continued to share whale updates and additional video footage, much to the delight of those following the story on social media.

"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", Ferry said.

Photographers line the banks of the Thames to snap the whale.

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

Benny the Beluga, as it has now been named, appears to have moved a few miles further west since yesterday.

Belugas typically live for 40 to 60 years.

It has adapted to life in the Arctic, and is distinctive for its all-white colour and for not having a dorsal fin.

According to Dolman, bottlenose whales (unlike belugas) are usually found in deep waters, so the whale of 2006 found itself in trouble - fast. Others expressed concern for the creature, while more still just made jokes.

Beluga calls variously resemble a cork being prized from a bottle or a creaking door, along with sounds described as clicks, squeaks, chirps, bleats, moans, groans, and whistles.

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