Huge beluga whale trapped in French river rescued: report

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Huge beluga whale trapped in French river rescued: report

The whales were placed on a barge under the immediate supervision of a dozen veterinarians.

Saint-Pierre-la-Garen:

An AFP reporter said a trapped beluga whale in the Seine river in northern France was pulled out of the water early Wednesday in the first phase of an ambitious rescue operation.

After about six hours of work, an 800-kilogram (1,800-pound) cetacean was lifted from the river by a net and crane at around 4:00 pm (0200 GMT) and placed on a barge under the immediate care of a dozen veterinarians Gone. ,

The beluga, a protected species commonly found in cold Arctic waters, will next be placed in a refrigerated truck and transported to the shore, Isabel Dorliat-Pauzet, secretary general of Eure Prefecture, said ahead of the rescue operation.

The four-metre (13-foot) whale was seen headed to Paris more than a week ago and was stranded about 130 kilometers (80 mi) inland from the channel at Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne in Normandy.

Since Friday, the animal’s inland movement has been blocked by a lock in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, 70 kilometers northwest of Paris, and its health deteriorated after refusing to eat.

But its condition was “satisfactory”, Isabel Brasser of the Marineland marine animal park in southern France, Europe’s largest, told AFP earlier on Tuesday.

A seawater basin on a lock in the Channel port of Oystreham has been prepared for the animal, which will spend three days there under observation in preparation for its release.

The “extraordinary” operation to return to sea is not without risk to the whale, which is already vulnerable and stressed, said Brasser, part of a Marineland team sent to aid in the rescue with the NGO Sea Shepherd France .

“It may be that now he dies, during handling, during travel or at point B,” in Ouistreham, she said.

The 24 divers involved in the operation and the rescue team handling the ropes had to make several attempts between 10:00 pm and 4:00 pm to trap the animal in order to pull the animal out of the water.

Some curious people stayed in the bank all night to watch the operation.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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