Hopes of saving beluga whale trapped in the Seine are decreasing

Hopes of saving beluga whale trapped in the Seine are decreasing
Beluga. Credit: Wikipedia

A beluga whale that swam up France's River Seine seems to be underweight and authorities are worried about its state of health.

The protected species is usually found in cold Arctic waters, but has somehow made its way up the river and reached an impasse at about 70 kilometers from Paris.

The whale was first seen on Tuesday, following the appearance of a killer whale that also swamp up the Seine two months ago.

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French rescue services and biodiversity officials have gathered and are keeping an eye out on the whale while monitoring the 'worrying' state of the animal.

The whale is currently believed to be between the Poses and Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne dams, some 70kilometers north-west of Paris, is showing signs of illness.

Diminishing chances of saving the beluga

Chances of saving the animal are quickly diminishing, as it is too risky to remove the beluga from the water as it may not be able to reach the ocean on its own. According to experts, there is still about 24 to 48 hours to save the animal.

Authorities in Normandy have called on people to keep their distance to avoid distressing the animal. For France's Eure department, named after the river Eure, feeding the animal is crucial.

"The urgency is to feed the whale to prevent it from suffering the same fate as the orca," said Lamya Essemlali, head of the non-profit marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd, in the Guardian.

She added that some of her would go to the river in the evening to help locate the whale.

"The environment is not very welcoming for the beluga, the Seine is very polluted and cetaceans are extremely sensitive to noise," she said, as the Seine was "very noisy".

Eure authorities said in The Guardian that belugas swim farther south than they are accustomed to and can therefore survive in fresh water. However, they rarely ventured so far south as the Seine.


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