The ‘Dartford Dolphin’ spotted at the weekend is actually a porpoise, according to wildlife expert Wayne May.

The marine creature, which has a fin and dips in-and-out of the waves, was filmed by Paul Salter near the Dartford Crossing on Saturday afternoon (May 16).

Mr Salter spotted the “dolphin” swimming the Thames at 2.50pm – others who saw the video said it could be a seal, shark or porpoise.

Mr Salter said: “I can say it looked like a dolphin in real time, on the video it's not as clear but if you view it on a large screen it clearly resembles a dolphin.”

Mr May, who runs Artisan Rare Breeds, an animal sanctuary on The Brent, disagreed and said: “It’s 100 per cent a porpoise.

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Mr May

“I have visually seen it because we do a marine rescue from Tilbury to the Dartford Bridge.

“It’s not infrequent to see porpoises in the River Thames.

“They normally follow prey up the river.

“It does not surprise me, because the Thames is getting cleaner.

“It’s really not uncommon to see them in the Thames now.

“We have seals and all sorts.”



The 43-year-old added that porpoises travel in pods, or packs, and he recently saw a group of 11 in Southend, heading towards the Thames Gateway.

Mr May said: “It’s very unlikely that it would have been on its own.”

Dolphins and porpoises are both warm-blooded mammals, but differ in appearance.

Dolphins have longer snouts, bigger mouths, more curved dorsal fins, and longer, leaner bodies than porpoises, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).