The beluga that spent more than a week lost in the Seine had to be euthanized by veterinarians this Wednesday (10) after being pulled from the river, about 70 km from Paris.
The animal, originally from the cold waters of the Arctic, was in an extremely fragile state of health and had completely stopped eating. The rescue operation, which began on Tuesday night (9) and lasted all night, was unprecedented.
The health status of the 4-meter, 800-kilogram cetacean was considered alarming. It was a male, who showed great weight loss. An adult animal should weigh about 4 tons. According to veterinarians involved in the operation, the cetacean would no longer have digestive activity, which explains why it no longer fed.
It was “longer than imagined”, but “it’s a wild animal and it was a new technique, so we had to go step by step”, described the deputy mayor of the city of Evreux, Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, hailing the work. collective of about 80 people – divers, firefighters, police, zoologists, veterinarians – involved in the operation.
“The moment when the beluga was taken out of the water, in the net, was extremely intense and stressful, because it got scared, it moved. It was quite surprising”, testified the deputy mayor, who witnessed the entire operation.
The transport of the whale in a refrigerated truck started around 7:30 am local time (2:20 am in Brasília) this Wednesday towards the Port of Ouistreham, also in Normandy, where it would be installed in a seawater lock by some days, to be better evaluated before being released into the open sea, if possible.
In an interview with RFI on Monday (8), the president of the NGO Sea Shepherd, Lamya Essenlali, already pointed out that “depending on the evolution of her condition, we will see if we can help her to reach the sea and try to identify the disease she has, to know if it’s something we can treat her, or if it’s something incurable and, in this case, nature will take its course”, he explained.