Beached beluga whale removed from Seine but fears it may still die

The'terribly skinny' beluga was rescued from the Seine this morning (Image: AFP)

The ‘terribly skinny’ beluga was rescued from the Seine this morning (Image: AFP)

Concerns remain for the long-term survival of a beluga whale despite being rescued from a Paris river.

The animal, which failed to eat after becoming stuck in the Seine, was lifted out in a delicate operation earlier this morning.

Extracting the 800kg animal took six hours, with experts believing the animal was dangerously underweight.

Pictures show the beluga in a net and lying down with rescuers monitoring its health.

It had swum almost halfway to Paris before local authorities blocked it from proceeding with a large system of locks.

Now it is transported in a refrigerated truck to Ouistreham in Normandy, where it is placed in a saltwater lock and cared for.

But now there are fears about his chances of survival, especially since the animal is said to normally weigh 1,200 kg.

Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, Secretary General of the Eure Prefecture, told BFM TV: “Veterinarians are not necessarily optimistic about the health of the beluga.

The animal is now being transported by road to a coastal town (Image: Getty Images)
There are concerns it might not last the trip (Picture: Getty Images)
Belugas tend to live in pods in the Arctic (Image: EPA)

“He’s terribly thin for a beluga, and that doesn’t bode well for his life expectancy in the medium term.”

Conservation group Sea Shepherd tweeted that the marine mammal had no digestive activity for unknown reasons.

The group said the beluga is a male with no contagious diseases and veterinarians are trying to boost his digestion.

Rescue workers have been trying unsuccessfully to feed the beluga with fish since Friday.

But there are some signs of hope that it will survive after responding to a Cocktail of antibiotics and vitamins administered over the past few days.

Firefighters and members of a search and rescue team hoist a net as they rescue a beluga whale that has crashed near the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne lock in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, France French Seine has strayed. August 10, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Firefighters and members of a search and rescue team pull up a net this morning (Image: Reuters)
A team of rescuers prepare to help the marine mammal in Paris (Image: EPA)

It also rubbed against the lock wall to remove stains that had appeared on its back.

It is 13 feet (four meters) long and will be transported in a refrigerated truck for the approximately 160 km (99 miles) journey.

The plan calls for the whale to be monitored and treated in a makeshift saltwater home for two to three days before being towed out to sea.

The lost beluga was spotted in France’s river for the first time last week.

Date: 09/08/2022 Heatwave warning.... The sun rises over Cullercoats Bay in North Tyneside this morning (TUES) and the UK is expecting another heatwave which is expected to last into the weekend amid fears of further drought and fire problems go on. See weather report

The heat alert goes into effect at 12pm before temperatures hit the mid-30s

Authorities said that while the move was risky because of the stress on the animal, the whale would not have survived much longer in the fresh waters of the Seine.

Belugas typically live in pods in the Arctic.

But in September 2018, one was sighted for a few days in the River Thames near Gravesend, east of London, in what was then the southernmost sighting of a belugas on the British coast.

In late May, a seriously ill killer whale swam dozens of miles up the Seine and died of natural causes after attempts to get it back to sea failed.

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MORE : Rescuers ‘working around the clock’ to save beluga whale trapped in Seine river Beached beluga whale removed from Seine but fears it may still die

Justin Scacco

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