An RNLI lifeboat crew member was given a treat over the weekend, when he spotted an adorable seal swimming up the River Thames.
The grey seal caught Andy Butterfield’s eye during a shift for Teddington RNLI, one of 236 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland.
Mr Butterfield said that the seal went over the weir, near Teddington Lock, Surrey, “chasing fish”.
“Seals tend to come and go from time to time,” he wrote on Twitter.
"It is quite far upstream but can get back when ready. [There are] lots of fish up here," he replied to one Twitter user.
Soon, other Twitter users were also reporting sightings of the animal, dubbed the Teddington seal.
And another jokingly asked whether Mr Butterfield had spotted a seal from Worcester, whom the user had named Keith.
@rowinggeek we discussed names today, hadn't thought of Keith, will try it next time I spot him— Andy Butterfield (@andybutts) January 18, 2015
Mr Butterfield’s sighting comes after seals were seen near Fulham FC’s ground Craven Cottage, Billingsgate Market and Isle of Dogs, while Merseyside police rescued a sealion in December after it washed up from the River Mersey, the Evening Standard reported.
Over 700 seals live along the Thames Estuary, according to research published last year.
Callan Duck, a senior research scientist at St Andrew's University, told the Evening Standard that owing to improved water quality over a number of decades, seals are now a more common sight along the River Thames.
“If it was polluted, seals wouldn't be anywhere near it,” he said.Reuse content