In a dramatic rescue operation, French rescue workers pulled the beluga whale that had gotten lost in the Seine out of the water. The marine mammal, four meters long and weighing around 800 kilograms, was lifted in a net with the help of a crane from the lock in the northern French municipality of Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne on Wednesday night, as reported by journalists from the AFP news agency on site.
A number of veterinarians immediately took care of the beluga whale. In a next step, the animal is to be taken to a seawater tank by truck. The complex rescue operation with dozens of emergency services began on Tuesday evening just before 10 p.m.
Great interest, many donations
The beluga whale was first spotted in the Seine on Tuesday last week and has been stuck in a lock in Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne since Friday, around 70 kilometers from Paris – 130 kilometers from the Seine estuary on the English Channel. According to experts, the animal cannot survive long in the warm fresh water. Beluga whales typically live in arctic waters off the coasts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada.
Animal rights activists therefore developed the idea of hauling the marine mammal out of the river and transporting it to a seawater tank to feed it up and then releasing it into the sea. The interest and the willingness to donate in France are huge. Among others, the marine protection organization Sea Shepherd collected donations for the rescue operation.
In the past few days, several attempts to feed the emaciated and weakened animal had been unsuccessful. According to experts, his lack of appetite could be a sign of illness.
According to experts, it is only the second time that a beluga whale has lost its way to France. The first time a fisherman spotted a whale in his nets in the Loire Estuary was in 1948.