St-Pierre-LA -GARENNE - A sick beluga whale that strayed into the Seine died Wednesday when it tried to return it to the sea in northern France, officials said.
Rescue It took him six hours to lift the whale out of the river with a crane after his divers had lured it into the net overnight. It was then transported by refrigerated truck to the port of Ouistreham in the English Channel.
The already weakened beluga developed respiratory failure during the journey and was euthanized by a veterinarian shortly after arriving in Ouistrem.
"Despite unprecedented rescue efforts, we are sad to announce the death of the whale," Calvados local officials said.
The plan was to transfer the malnourished whales to a saltwater basin so that they could regain some strength before being transferred to the sea.
But it was a dangerous adventure.
A 4-meter male weighs 800 kilograms (1,763 pounds), which is well below the normal weight of an adult beluga whale of 1,200 kilograms, since she was first spotted in the Seine last week. , did not eat the bait.
Rescuers believe he was ill before wandering the river within 70 km (43 mi) of Paris.
The whale's condition worsened en route to shore. When it arrived at Ouistream, it was still alive, but weak and struggling to breathe. Shepherd France said leaving this whale in the Seine would have put it to certain death. Belugas cannot survive long periods in the warm fresh water of rivers.
"(The surgery) was risky, but essential to give the doomed animal a chance," the group added.
In late May, a seriously ill killer whale died of natural causes after swimming tens of miles up the Seine and failing to return it to the sea.
In September 2018, a beluga whale was spotted in the River Thames, east of London. At the time, it was the most southerly sighting of a beluga whale on the English coast.
Beluga whales typically live in pods in Arctic or sub-Arctic waters. (Reporting by Benoit Tessier and Benoit van Oberstraten; Writing by Benoit van Oberstraten and Richard Ruff; Editing by Robert Barcel and Alexandra Hudson)