The beluga whale, which was lifted from the Seine earlier Wednesday, has died despite the mission to rescue it, according to local authorities.
Despite an unprecedented rescue operation for the beluga, we are sad to announce the whale’s death,” the prefect of the Calvados Department said on Twitter.
The Hale was lifted from the river on Wednesday as authorities desperately tried to save it.
The whale’s removal was overseen by marine conservation group Sea Shepherd France.
The beluga swam almost halfway to Paris before local authorities locked the all-white whale in a large system of locks. They wanted to move the whale to another navigation lock closer to the sea and with salt water.
According to Lamya Essemlali, president of conservation group Sea Shepherd France, a medical team had attempted to transport the 4-metre-long whale to a coastal location in the north-eastern French port city of Ouistreham for “a period of care”.
Experts had known the whale was sick and had lost the race against time to survive.
According to Isabelle Dorliat Pouzet, deputy prefect of the city of Evreux, the whale was to remain in its makeshift saltwater home for “two to three days” for monitoring and treatment before being towed out to sea.”
A team of around 80 people, including veterinarians and environmentalists, gathered near a Seine lock in the Eure region on Tuesday to plan the exodus.
Conservation groups said it would take 24 people to load the Beluga into a refrigerated truck for the 100-mile journey to Ouistreham, calling the saltwater transfer a “huge operation”.
Because the region is extremely hot, the team planned to wait until nightfall before moving the ethereal white creature. It weighs about 800 kilograms.
Rescuers had hoped to spare the whale the fate of an orca, which strayed into the Seine and died in May.
Authorities said that while the move brought its own risk of mortality due to the stress on the animal, the whale could not survive much longer in the Seine’s freshwater habitat.
Drone footage captured by France’s fire brigade last week showed the whale snaking its way into a stretch of the Seine between Paris and the Norman city of Rouen that lies far inland from the sea.
Conservationists have been trying unsuccessfully to feed the Beluga with fish since Friday.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/starving-beluga-whale-dies-hours-after-being-lifted-out-of-river-seine-in-late-night-rescue-attempt-41902104.html Starving beluga whale dies hours after being lifted from the Seine in an overnight rescue attempt