Rescue attempts for a beluga whale that washed up in the Seine River 1:17 (CNN) — A beluga whale rescued after being trapped in France’s Seine River for more than a week has died while en route to sea, as confirmed by the authorities. The whale had been stuck in the freshwater lock at St.-Pierre-La-Garenne, some 72 kilometers northwest of Paris, since August 2. His health condition deteriorated after he refused food, according to wildlife protection associations that were monitoring the situation. Firefighters and members of a search and rescue team erect a net early on August 10, 2022, as they work to save a beluga whale that went missing in the Seine River in France. It took more than 80 rescue workers six hours to extract the animal from the lock, Reuters reported, after which it was placed on a barge, where it underwent medical checks. However, scientists were concerned about the animal’s “alarming” weight loss and had to euthanize it soon after. His death was confirmed by officials of the Essonne Department Fire and Rescue Service in a video message. “During the trip, the veterinarians observed a deterioration in its condition, especially in its respiratory activity, and we were able to verify that the animal was in anoxia —that is, insufficiently ventilated—, so this animal was clearly suffering and we decided there was no point in releasing him and so we had to euthanize him,” said Florence Ollivet-Courtois, a fire and rescue service veterinarian. Veterinarians hoped the whale could be transported to the Normandy region and eventually released into the sea. According to Reuters, it weighed about 800 kilograms, but it should have weighed about 1,200 kg. The natural habitat of the beluga is in the arctic and subarctic regions. Although the best-known population is found in the St. Lawrence estuary in Quebec (Canada), the closest to the French coast is in Svalbard, an archipelago in northern Norway, more than 3,050 kilometers from the Seine River. No one knows how the beluga lost its way, but the loss of sea ice in Arctic waters is opening up the area to more shipping, fishing and other human activities, affecting the whales’ ability to communicate and navigate, according to WWF. . Also, finding food and looking for a mate is becoming much more difficult for the species. In recent years, many species of marine mammals have been recorded in France, far from their main habitat. Possible reasons could be health status, age, social isolation and environmental conditions, among others, according to France’s Pelagis Observatory, which specializes in the study of marine mammals. CNN’s Angela Dewan contributed to this article.
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