July 24, 2019 / 10:59 AM / a month ago

'Benny the Beluga' left the Thames on New Year's Day

FILE PHOTO: A Beluga whale swims in the River Thames near Gravesend, east of London, Britain, September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - A beluga whale that spent over three months in the River Thames left the British capital around the start of the year, the Port of London Authority said on Wednesday.

The white cetacean, which feeds on fish, squid and crabs, was first spotted last September and surfaced near Gravesend, Kent on the southern side of the estuary. It was dubbed Benny the Beluga by the British media.

“We are pretty sure he swam away on or about New Year’s Day,” said a spokesman for the Port of London Authority, which oversees the river. “We think he swam home and we are confident he has gone.”

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

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison

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