Attempts to feed beluga whales in the French Seine have so far failed

PARIS – Efforts to feed a dangerously skinny beluga whale that has strayed into the Seine in France have so far failed, and experts are now trying to retrieve the whale from the river lock where it is stuck, environmentalists said on Monday.

Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd France tweeted Monday that “feeding trials are continuing in parallel with finding a solution to get it out of the lock in the best conditions.”

Local experts warn that the beluga should not remain in the warm, stagnant water between the lock gates for too long.

“The beluga is still not eating but continues to show curiosity,” tweeted Sea Shepherd France. Overnight, “the whale rubbed against the lock wall, removing stains that had appeared on its back. Maybe antibiotics helped too.”

The lost beluga was first spotted in France’s river earlier this week, far from its arctic habitat. Drone footage captured by the French Fire Brigade showed the whale snaking gently in a stretch of the river’s bright green waters between Paris and the Norman city of Rouen, many tens of kilometers (miles) inland from the sea.


Experts have been trying to feed the beluga dead herring and live trout since Friday, to no avail. Sea Shepherd fears the whale may be slowly starving and dying in the water.

Local authorities said veterinarians gave the whale vitamins and products to stimulate its appetite, as well as some medical treatments.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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