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Arctic Whale Spotted in the Thames Estuary — 1,000 Miles from its Usual Habitat

UK — A beluga whale has been sighted off Gravesend in the Thames estuary, more than 1,000 miles from its usual habitat in the Arctic.

Julia Cable, British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s coordinator, said: “It is swimming strongly and appears to be feeding, so there is no indication that it is unwell or acting strangely.

“We are not particularly concerned about its welfare apart from the fact that it really shouldn’t be there.”

Beluga whales in British waters are very rare.

“They are an Arctic species,” Cable said, “so they usually swim around Greenland or Svalbard, a lot further north.”

Cable holds the theory that recent storms –Ali and Bronagh– may have thrown the whale off-course.

Another theory is the recent build up of cooler arctic waters off Western Europe may have drawn the creature south.

North Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently well-below average, and have been for the majority of they year:

 

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