Members of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society are concerned after a beluga whale was spotted in the River Thames near Gravesend, Kent. According to them, the beluga is obviously completely lost and is “quite possibly in trouble.”

It was ornithologist and ecologist Dave Andrews who first spotted the whale, which he said was feeding around the barges in the river. Since the beluga was spotted, vessels are being kept away from the beluga, while the British Divers Marine Life Rescue has urged the public to not get too close and to only watch the whale from the shore.

Whale stranded in the Thames

As reported by AOL, Andrews shared video footage of the beluga on Twitter, saying it was spotted swimming just off Coalhouse Fort in Essex. Andrews said the animal was feeding around the barges in the river for approximately an hour and did not move far in either direction on the Thames during that period.

Plastic bags could pose danger to beluga whale

The environment manager of the Port of London authority says they are monitoring the situation. While Andrews said the whale was feeding around the barges, Tanya Ferry said it is unclear what the beluga would eat.

She said there are a lot of plastic bags in the river, which could be a danger to the cetacean.

Ferry went on to say they were hoping if they keep an eye on the whale and give it enough space, it might find its way out of the Thames into a safer and more appropriate environment.

Ferry stressed they don’t want the public to attempt rescuing the beluga. Meanwhile, conservationists are hoping the animal will be taken to safer waters by the outgoing tide.

An RSPCA spokesman said they are aware of the existence of the whale in the Thames and said they are also monitoring the situation along with the other agencies.

The spokesman added they are ready to give any appropriate assistance if necessary.

UK beluga whale sightings ‘extremely rare’

Julia Cable, a spokeswoman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said sightings of beluga whales are “extremely rare.” She said they were last seen three years ago in the UK, off the coasts of Northern Ireland and Northumberland. According to Cable, the whale is swimming strongly, so it is hoped it will eventually swim back to its normal environment in the sea.

Danny Groves, speaking for the Whale and Dolphin Conversation Society, said beluga whales are a high Arctic species, adding that the lost whale is thousands of miles from home. Groves went on to urge the public to give it space and keep any disturbance to a minimum.

The BBC reports this isn’t the first time a cetacean has been spotted in the River Thames, as in 2006, a northern bottle-nosed whale became stranded in the river. The 18 ft (5m) creature regrettably died from its experience.