Beluga Whale Stranded in French River Dies During Rescue Attempt

The whale, who was stuck in the River Seine for a week, was put down after developing breathing difficulties during an effort to transport it 100 miles in a refrigerated truck.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB
Rescuers pull up a net as they rescue a Beluga whale stranded in the River Seine.
Rescuers pull up a net as they rescue a Beluga whale stranded in the River Seine. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

A Beluga whale that was stranded in the River Seine for just over a week has died after efforts to transport it to safety failed. 

After the whale was first spotted early last week, thousands of miles from its natural home in the Arctic, environmentalists in France worked for days to rescue the severely malnourished whale with little progress as it refused to eat the live fish tossed its way. 

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Fearing the whale wouldn’t survive a physical rescue, experts turned to a vitamin-infused injection that they hoped would help the whale regain enough strength to find its own way back to the sea. 

Rescuers pull up a net after they rescued a beluga whale stranded in the River Seine

Rescuers pull up a net after they rescued a beluga whale stranded in the River Seine. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

The final rescue attempt came on Wednesday morning when dozens of environmentalists used a net and crane to transport the Beluga onto a refrigerated truck that was meant to transport the whale 100 miles to the French port town of Ouistreham.

However, the Beluga was eventually euthanised on the trip after developing breathing difficulties. 

Vets take care of a beluga whale that was stranded in the River Seine

Vets take care of a beluga whale that was stranded in the River Seine. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that the beluga did not survive the translocation which was risky, but essential to give an otherwise doomed animal a chance,” Sea Shepherd France, an environmental NGO helping to coordinate the rescue, said. 

“Following the deterioration of his condition, the veterinarians took the decision to euthanise him.”