Benny the beluga latest: Whale still thought to be living in Thames, expert says

A beluga whale who was spotted in the Thames last year is thought to still be living in the river, an expert has said.

Benny the beluga was regularly spotted between September and November last year but has not been seen since December 14.

He had been living to the west of Gravesend in Kent, but Martin Garside, from the Port of London Authority, said he was last seen to the east of the town.

Mr Garside told BBC News: “There’s no reason to think that he’s not on the river – and if he’d gone back to the Arctic there would definitely have been sightings further up.

“We’ve gone longer than this without sightings of him before. He’s a wise animal and keeps away from traffic."

Mr Garside said there have been less sightings recently because of the shorter days and his brief appearances.

The whale, whose sex and age remain unconfirmed, is thought to have lived in the river since last July.

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In terms of size, it has been estimated to be around 3.5metres, or 11 feet, in length.

Beluga whales are related to the narwhal, the tusked ‘unicorn’ whale.

They are also sometimes known as white whales, due to their distinctive colour.

Most commonly they are found in Arctic habitats. This means Benny could be more than 1,000 miles from its usual habitat.