Stranded French River whale about to be taken to salt water

PARIS – A beluga whale stranded in the Seine for several days was successfully removed from France’s waterway on Wednesday in preparation for transfer to a saltwater pool in Normandy in hopes of saving its life.

The dangerously thin marine mammal has no digestive activity for unknown reasons, conservation group Sea Shepherd France tweeted, saying veterinary checks were carried out after the beluga was pulled from the water after hours of preparation.

The group said the beluga is a male with no contagious diseases and veterinarians are trying to stimulate the marine mammal’s digestion again. Conservationists have been trying unsuccessfully to feed the Beluga with fish since Friday.

Photos posted by Sea Shepherd France show the white mammal lying on a large net that was used to retrieve it from a river lock.

According to Sea Shepherd President Lamya Essemlali, a veterinary team planned to transport the 4-meter-long (13-foot-long) whale to a coastal location in the northeastern French port city of Ouistreham for “a period of care” in France.


The delicate transport for the approximately 160-kilometer journey was to be carried out by refrigerated truck.

Authorities planned to keep the whale in its makeshift saltwater home for two to three days for monitoring and treatment before towing it out to sea.

The lost beluga was spotted for the first time in France’s river last week, far from its arctic habitat. It weighs about 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds).

Authorities said that while the move carries its own mortality risk due to the stress on the animal, the whale may not survive much longer in the Seine’s freshwater habitat.

They continue to hope it will survive after reacting to a cocktail of antibiotics and vitamins administered over the past few days and rubbing itself against the castle’s wall to remove stains that had appeared on its back .

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Sarah Y. Kim

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