Beluga whale lost in the Seine river pulled from the water

Beluga whale lost in the Seine river pulled from the water

The beluga whale, which had been lost in the Seine River 70 kilometers from Paris since Friday, was removed from the water on Wednesday, in the first stage of an operation to return the animal to the ocean.

Around 02:00 am (03:00 am in Lisbon), after six hours of effort, the cetacean was hoisted onto a net, pulled by a crane and placed on a boat, where it was immediately attended by a dozen veterinarians.

The beluga whale, four meters long and weighing about 800 kilograms, whose health condition was considered “alarming”, was trapped near the Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne lock, northwest of Paris.

Twenty-four divers from the French Militarized Police (Gendarmerie) and firefighters participated in the operation.

After the rescue, the cetacean must be transported by truck to Ouistreham, next to the English Channel, according to the news agency France-Presse (AFP).

The operation is not “an early victory”, the general secretary of the Eure municipality, Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, warned on Tuesday, because it can generate stress, “which is a factor of death” for the animal.

The beluga still eats “very little”, but its health status is “stable”, according to a source from the municipality.

The exceptional presence of this marine mammal in the Seine, about 130 kilometers from the mouth of the river in the English Sea, arouses great interest, beyond the French borders, with an influx of donations from foundations, associations and individuals to try help in the rescue

Sighted on August 2, the cetacean, which usually lives in cold waters, was still this Tuesday in the warm and stagnant waters of a gate through which it entered alone, 70 kilometers northwest of Paris, which risks compromising its survival.

A member of the team from Marineland in Antibes, in the south, who arrived at the scene on Monday night, stressed that the rescue operation would be “out of the ordinary”.

The banks of the Seine “are not accessible to vehicles” at that location and “everything has to be transported by hand”, explained Isabelle Brasseur, adding that “the priority is to put it back in the sea water”.

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Once trucked to Ouistreham, the animal must be deposited for three days in a seawater lock so it can be cared for before being taken out to sea and released.

In May, an orca also had problems in the Seine, rescue operations failed and the animal starved to death.

According to the Pelagis observatory, a specialist in marine mammals, this is the second known beluga in France, after a fisherman from the Loire estuary, the great river in the center of the country, caught one in his nets in 1948.

Source: TSF