BREAKING NEWS: Beluga whale trapped in France’s River Seine sadly dies

Experts offer 'little hope' for survival of beluga whale trapped in France's River Seine

Image of the beluga whale trapped in the River Seine in France. Credit: Twitter@SeaShepherdFran

The Beluga whale that was trapped in France’s River Seine has died, as reported by the prefect of the Calvados department, on Wednesday, August 10.

Update (August 10) The death of the Beluga whale was announced in a tweet that read:

“#Beluga Despite an unprecedented rescue operation for the #beluga, we are sad to announce the death of the cetacean. Mrs Ollivet Courtois, veterinarian of  @sdis91explains ⬇️”

The whale had been loaded into a refrigerated truck by a team of an estimated 24 experts and a great number of volunteers who used a crane and nets to load it.

Tragically the whale developed breathing difficulties during the transfer from Paris to the coast and had to be euthanised.

Original (August 8) The beluga whale trapped in a lock on the River Seine in France is not feeding and experts have offered ‘little hope’ for his survival.

Experts believe that there is now little hope remaining for the beluga whale that somehow managed to get lost and swam up the river Seine in France. On Sunday, August 7, the four-metre-long cetacean was still not feeding and showed clear signs of emaciation.

The mammal’s unusual presence was first spotted in the river last Tuesday, August 2. Its normal habitat is the cold water of the sea. By Friday evening it had found itself trapped about 70km northwest of Paris in a lock measuring around 125 meters by 25 meters.

Members of the ocean defence NGO, Sea Shepherd are at the scene monitoring the whale’s situation. When asked about the creature’s chances of survival, Lamya Essemlali, President and Founder of the NGO, admitted they were pretty slim.

Attempts to feed it with trout, herring, and even squid, have all proved unsuccessful. Last Saturday, August 6, a veterinarian even administered “vitamins and products likely to give it an appetite”, in an attempt to save the whale. It has been noted that the creature is exhibiting “signs of skin alterations due to its presence in freshwater”.

“His lack of appetite is probably a symptom of something else, an origin that we don’t know, a disease. He is undernourished and it goes back several weeks, even several months. At sea, he didn’t eat anymore”, explained Essemlali.

There had previously been talk of euthanasia as a solution to the mammal’s predicament but this has been ruled out said Sea Shepherd experts. It has also been considered too risky to try opening the lock gates to free the whale. Leaving him in the lock though could also prove fatal due to the stagnant water which is at a temperature much warmer than it is used to.

“We are all skeptical about his ability to reach the sea by his own means. Even if we ‘freed’ him with a boat, he would be extremely dangerous, if not impossible”, added Lamya Essemlali.

Following a meeting with a Canadian whale expert, and the French Biodiversity Office, the Pelagis observatory, Essemlali stressed, “He has to come out in the next 24/48 hours, these are not optimal conditions for him”, as reported by euronews. com .


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at