A beluga whale that apparently took a wrong turn and wound up in the Delaware River drew hundreds of camera-toting onlookers to the riverbank, but all the excitement was doing more harm than good, experts say.

"Right now, our major problem is harassment by boaters," Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, said Tuesday. "It'll never get out of there if they harass it with boats." The 10- to 12-foot whale was spotted downstream from the city's famed "Trenton Makes The World Takes" bridge, which spans the river at the uppermost reach of its tidal waters.

The whale spent the afternoon and early evening swimming in a loop between the bridge and a marina about a mile downstream.

"Four news helicopters are hovering overhead. The train is stopping on the train trestle, people are lining up along the river. It's like the city has gone mad," said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office who watched the scene unfold from his office. "They might rename the bridge 'The Beluga Whale Bridge."'