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Beluga whale lifted from French river dies during rescue

Rescue workers to rescue beluga whales pull up nets 2022 Stranded in the Seine River, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne, northern France, on August 9, 1999. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty

Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, France — River Seine in northern France 21} A beluga whale stranded for more than a week was pulled out of the water early Wednesday. 

"It is with great sadness that we announce that the whale has died despite unprecedented rescue efforts." Calvados' Normandy region officials tweeted, adding that the whale had to be lowered during transport. At about midnight (10:00 PM ET), the 1,800-pound whale was hauled from the river by nets and cranes and loaded onto a barge. Under the immediate care of a dozen veterinarians.

Beluga, a protected species usually found in the cold waters of the Arctic, undergoes a health check and travels in a refrigerated truck to the coastal town of Ouistream.

A veterinarian cares for a beluga whale rescued from a lock on the Seine. August 10, 2022, Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, Northern France. A saltwater rock that can be held for observation for several days before being released into the open ocean. But officials at Wool, where the beluga was stranded, said the whale was worryingly thin and in poor health when it was lifted out of the river.

"It portends a poor life expectancy, according to veterinarians," said the Yule county in a statement after the first phase of the rescue effort. He said it was "particularly complicated."

The 13-foot whale he was spotted en route to Paris over a week ago was stranded in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, Normandy, about 81 miles inland from the Channel.

Since Friday, the animal's inland migration has been hampered by the locks of Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, 44 miles northwest of Paris, and its health has deteriorated as it refuses to eat.

She Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, the secretary general of the county of Eure, previously said that a medical examination would be carried out on the whales before transporting them.

A veterinarian takes care of a stranded beluga whale in the River Seine, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne, northern France, August 9, 2022. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty

"He is male, very underweight and has some scars," she said. .

The animal's rescue was quickly hailed early Wednesday when it was pulled from the river after days of nail biting.  

"Today is a great day for beluga whales and for everyone involved in their rescue," said conservation group Sea Her Shepherd on its website. But Isabelle Brasseur of the Marineland Marine Zoological Park in southern France, who was part of the Marineland team sent to help with the rescue, said the return to sea was never a big risk.

The 24 divers and rope rescuers involved in the operation made several attempts between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am to lure the animals into their nets and pull them out of the water. I had to.

Beluga whales are seen swimming in the French Seine near the locks in Courcelles-sur-Seine, western France, August 5, 2022 . JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty

As preparations for the operation began, people gathered on the banks of the river for observation.

Interest in the fate of the beluga whales spread far beyond France, with a large influx of financial donations and other assistance from conservation groups and individuals, officials said.

Beluga whales migrate south in the fall, feeding as the ice forms in the Arctic Ocean where they live, but they rarely set foot there.

The closest beluga whale population is off the Svalbard archipelago north of Norway, about 2,800 miles from the Seine, according to France's Pelagis Observatory, which specializes in marine mammals.

The trapped whale was her second beluga sighting in France. The first was hauled from the mouth of the Loire in 1948 by fishermen's nets. I read CBS news.

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