A last-ditch effort for survival for the beluga whale stranded in the Paris River

Experts in France have made a last-ditch effort to save a stranded beluga whale in the Seine by injecting it with a vitamin-enriched dart that will tempt it to eat.

Time is running out for the emaciated whale, which has been stranded in the Seine for at least a week. It was first sighted on August 2nd and is now about 69km from Paris – far from its natural habitat in arctic and subarctic waters.

The vitamin dart was proposed after attempts to fortify the starving whale with frozen herring and live trout failed when it refused to eat. The solution in the injection also contained antibiotics and an appetite stimulant, with new attempts to feed the whale continuing yesterday.

“He will need to be moved in the next 24 to 48 hours – these conditions are not good for him,” Lamya Essemlali, Sea Shepherd France’s marine conservation group leader, told AFP yesterday.

In addition to the injection, experts have considered the possibility of opening the floodgates and guiding the whale 160 km back to the open sea.

The locks were closed at the request of Sea Shepherd, who has been pursuing the mammal to prevent it from swimming further inland. But the longer it stays in stagnant freshwater, the less likely it is to survive the long and arduous journey.

“We all doubt his own ability to return to the sea,” Ms Essemlali said. “Even if we drove it in a boat, it would be extremely dangerous, if not impossible.”

Yesterday, Sea Shepherd France posted an update on Twitter saying that although the whale, which is severely underweight, continues to refuse food, is alert and dynamic, euthanasia would therefore be premature at this time.

On Saturday, the 13-foot whale was seen swimming “calmly” back and forth in the pool between two locks on the Seine. Aside from being worryingly thin, spots on the whale’s skin also indicate disease.

Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, secretary-general of the Eure prefecture in northwestern France, ruled out intervening directly and retrieving the whale from the waters, saying it was too weak to survive an aggressive rescue mission.

Ms Dorliat-Pouzet added that decisions are being made in the best interests of the mammal but nothing has yet been confirmed.

In May, a sick orca was separated from its pod and spotted swimming in the river between Le Havre and Honfleur. The orca later died of starvation.

Ms Essemlali said one possible explanation for whales roaming far from home and into the Seine could be the increase in noise pollution caused by human activity. (©Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/one-last-shot-at-survival-for-beluga-whale-stranded-in-paris-river-41895816.html A last-ditch effort for survival for the beluga whale stranded in the Paris River

Fry Electronics Team

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