Beluga whale stranded in the River Thames

Beluga whale spotted in the river Thames

He added that the whale had been feeding around the barges across the Thames near Gravesend in Kent for around an hour and had not moved more than 200 meters.

Known as the "canary of the sea" due to their chirps, clicks and whistles, beluga whales can range from 13 ft to 20 ft in length and have distinctive round foreheads, known as "melons".

However rescue teams were on standby in case the animal got into danger.

Whale watchers have flocked to the banks of the Thames to try and spot the mammal.

The video has since been viewed more than 160,000 times, sparking "River Thames" to trend on Twitter.

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

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

The sight of a beluga whale so far south - 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) from even Iceland - is exceptional.

"Beluga whales are an Arctic species, often seen in groups".

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

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

In 2006, a whale died after it swum up the Thames into central London despite efforts to rescue the animal.

"The white body colour, absence of a prominent dorsal fin, bulbous forehead and general swimming motion all suggest this very strongly", he said.

They are common to Alaska, Russia, Canada, and Greenland.

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