Whale in the UK's River Thames

Beluga whale spotted in the river Thames

It was spotted feeding near a number of barges.

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

Rescue teams are on standby in case the whale, which usually lives in the Arctic, gets into danger.

Benny, as it has now been named, appeared to be "swimming strongly" and feeding in the estuary but concerns for the whale's health have continued.

A rare beluga whale reported to be swimming in the Thames could be "in trouble", conservationists have warned.

"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.

The Beluga poked its head out of the water on multiple occasions.

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

"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".

Marine mammal scientists at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation has been monitoring the wale in case it "live strands" on the sandbank. The last sighting of a Beluga whale was some three years ago, off the coast of Northumberland, in northern England.

In 2006 an 18ft (5m) northern bottle-nosed whale died after becoming stranded in the Thames.

Edna Brady from Sky News spotted the whale this morning and said it looked like it had moved a few miles further west since yesterday.

Belugas, which can grow up to 5.5 metres (18 feet) long, spend most of their time off the coasts of Alaska, Canada and Russian Federation, though they often travel great distances in search of food.

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